Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki Disease

My son's hands started peeling the other day.  At one point, they seemed to be peeling several layers at once.  This wasn’t a major concern to me, but it kept up for about two weeks.  I looked online to see what could cause it, and while I’m pretty sure it is something he picked up when he started wrestling practice, I came across a rare disease where a common symptom is peeling hands.  Since almost no one would find peeling hands to be that big a deal, I thought maybe I should try to get the word out there.  My son’s hands are healed and he is fine, but someone else might not be so lucky.

Kawasaki Disease, named so because it is common in Japan, is a very serious disease that can cause lifelong heart complications if untreated.  According to the National Institute for Health, it usually starts with a fever of 102 °F or higher that lasts at least five days.  Common symptoms include bloodshot eyes, chapped lips, red, swollen hands and feet, skin rashes, peeling skin on hands, feet and genitals, swollen lymph nodes and joint pain.

The treatment for Kawasaki is immediate hospitalization to receive intravenous gamma globulin, which will help prevent damage to the heart.  If left untreated, lifelong complications from heart damage can occur, so it is critical to see a doctor right away if you suspect Kawasaki disease.

Not all peeling skin will be Kawasaki disease, but being aware of the other signs and symptoms can help you know when it is serious and when to let it heal on its own.