What Parents Should Know About Kawasaki Disease and COVID-19

Among all the coverage about the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing we’ve all heard is that children aren’t at as much risk as other age groups. This outlook is slowly changing as more children are falling ill and presenting with unusual symptoms. These symptoms seem to resemble the presentation of Kawasaki Disease, and more parents are concerned about the safety of their children. Here’s everything we currently know about Kawasaki Disease and its possible relation to COVID-19.

Kawasaki Disease and PMIS

Kawasaki Disease is a rare condition which presents with a high fever (over 101 degrees F) that lasts for more than 4 days, along with rashes, swelling, and redness in body parts like the hands, feet, lips, and neck. The disease causes blood vessels throughout the entire body to become inflamed and swollen, and the cause is completely unknown. An even more rare version of this disease, known as Kawasaki Disease Shock Syndrome, is caused by a fast, uninterrupted spread of the disease.

Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) is a recently discovered condition with similar symptoms to Kawasaki Disease. This syndrome started popping up in children older than typical Kawasaki Disease patients, and it showed more abnormal test results. 

Why They Might be Related to COVID-19

Most children diagnosed with PMIS have been identified as carriers of COVID-19, or as having previously had the virus. PMIS patients are extremely likely to have come into contact with COVID-19, and medical professionals are wondering how the two conditions are related. 

Like Kawasaki Disease, patients with PMIS typically present with a persistent high fever, redness and swelling in specific areas of the body, rashes without a known cause, and abnormal test results. 

PMIS patients also complain of severe abdominal pain and diarrhea, which can also be symptoms of COVID-19 but aren’t typically found in patients with Kawasaki disease.

Medical professionals are doing everything they can to understand this confusing disorder. Though we have some understanding of how PMIS and Kawasaki Disease are similar, we still don’t understand what makes them different.

How to Keep Immunocompromised Children Safe

If you have children who are immunocompromised, it’s important to keep them as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure everyone who lives in the same house as your child follows COVID-19 safety guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and avoiding large gatherings of people. Disinfect the high-contact surfaces in your home at least once a day and stay away from your child as much as possible if you don’t feel well. 

If your child has severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, high fever, or a rash with no known cause, seek medical care as soon as possible.

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