Parents know that rashes and fever are common occurrences of childhood. They often accompany the common cold, flu, and other non-serious conditions. Sometimes a rash can be the sign of a more serious condition that needs quick and aggressive treatment to keep your child from experiencing life-changing effects.

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease has no discernable cause, but results in inflammation within the walls of the medium-sized arteries that run throughout the body. It also affects the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat, the lymph nodes, and the skin. With early treatment Kawasaki disease is not life threatening. Complications arise when the disease is left unchecked and results in damage to arteries, especially those related to the heart. 

One of the first signs of Kawasaki disease is a fever that can last for upwards of five days. The fever may be accompanied by a rash on the genitals, stomach, and/or chest. A child's tongue may become swollen and grow a white coating with large inflamed red spots. In addition, their hands and feet may swell and exhibit a dark purple or red rash like appearance. 

In addition to the rash like symptoms, a child may experience:

  • Inflamed lips that may appear dry and cracked
  • A sore throat – with or without redness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Peeling or cracked skin in areas where the rash occurred
  • Red and irritated eyes
  • Abdominal pain

With quick treatment, Kawasaki disease can easily be controlled before lasting damage occurs. Treatment usually includes infusions of gamma globulin and aspirin. Since aspirin is usually contraindicated in the treatment of young children and teens, it is important to have your child monitored for side effects of treatment, including Reye's syndrome. 

Stevens-Johnsons Disease

Stevens-Johnsons disease is a rare disorder that is most commonly seen as a reaction to the taking of medication. With proper treatment, patients can recover without lasting side effects, though they will always have to avoid medications that may trigger the response. 

Flu-like symptoms are usually the first sign that something is amiss. This is followed by the appearance of an intensively painful red or purplish rash that may spread, blister, and peel.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Hives
  • Blisters or lesions on the mucous membranes of the body
  • Swelling of the face and tongue
  • Fever

Treatment will include stopping the triggering medication and care for the existing rash and/or blisters as it heals. 

With proper treatment, most patients recover from Stevens-Johnson without lasting effects. If left untreated it can lead to complications including cellulitis and sepsis.  Due to the involvement of the mucous membranes, it can also cause lasting damage to the eyes, including blindness.

If your child has a fever together with a rash, it is important that you contact a family physician like Entira Family Clinics to have your child examined and determine if further care is needed.