Treating Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease is usually treated in hospital as it can cause serious complications. T reatment should begin as soon as possible.

It may take longer foryour child to recover ifKawasaki diseaseisn't treated promptly. Their riskof developing complications will also be increased.

The two main treatments for Kawasaki disease are:

  • aspirin
  • intravenous immunoglobulin


Your child may be prescribed aspirin if they have Kawasaki disease. This is one of the few occasions where aspirin may berecommended fora child under 16 years old.

Never give your child aspirin unless it's prescribed by a healthcare professional as it can cause side effects, including Reye's syndrome .

You'll usually be warned not to give your child aspirin to treat a high temperature caused by another illness, such as chickenpox. Aspirin treatment for Kawasaki disease can be restarted when the fever settles.

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) . It's used to treat Kawasaki disease because:

  • it can ease pain and discomfort
  • it can help reduce a high temperature (fever)
  • at high doses, aspirin is an anti-inflammatory it reduces swelling
  • at low doses, aspirin is an antiplatelet it prevents blood clots forming

The dose of aspirin your child is prescribed and how long they need to take it for depends on their symptoms.They'll probably be given high-dose aspirin until their fever subsides.

Theymay then be prescribed low-dose aspirin until six to eight weeks after the start of their symptoms. This is to reduce blood clots if there are problems developing in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Research carried outinto using aspirin to treat Kawasaki disease didn't find any evidence either for or against its use. However, it's used because it helps prevent heart complications developing by working both as an anti-inflammatory and an antiplatelet.

Intravenous immunoglobulin

Intravenous immunoglobulin is also called IVIG. Immunoglobulin is a solution of antibodies taken from healthy donors. Intravenous means it's injected directly into a vein.

Antibodies are proteins the immune system producesto fight disease-carrying organisms.

Research has shown IVIG can reduce fever and the risk of heart problems. The immunoglobulin used to treat Kawasaki disease is called gamma globulin.

After your child is givenIVIG,their symptoms should improve within 36 hours. If their fever doesn't improveafter 36 hours, theymay be given a second dose of IVIG.


Corticosteroidsare a type of medication that contains hormones, which are powerful chemicals that have a wide range of effects on the body.

Theymay be recommended if a second dose of IVIG isn't effective. If your child is found to have a high risk of heart problems, they may be treated with corticosteroids as part of the first treatment.

Research is currently looking at the benefits of usingcorticosteroids to treat Kawasaki disease. The resultshave been inconsistent, but one review found they can reduce the need to be treated again with IVIG but don't reduce the risk of heart problems.

This mayinclude making sure they'reas comfortable as possible and ensuring they drink plenty of fluids.

Make sure your child continues taking any medication that has been prescribed for them and look outfor any side effects.

Your childwill be given a follow-up appointment andtheir heart will continue to be monitored. Once anultrasound scan of the heart (echocardiogram) has confirmed that your child doesn't have any heart abnormalities, they can usually stop taking aspirin.

Some symptoms, such as peeling skin, may not occur until three to four weeks after Kawasaki disease starts, and a full recovery could take around six weeks.


The Kawasaki Support Group UK can provide you with additional information and advice about your child's condition.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 25 Nov 2016