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COVID-19 and Kawasaki Disease: What Parents Need to Know

News coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on the world have dominated the headlines. Until recently, children were thought to be not significantly affected. This has changed after there were reports from the United Kingdom of a small number of cases of critically ill children presenting with unusual symptoms.

Within a few weeks, clusters of sick kids with, what is being called, “Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome” or PMIS, started to appear in New York City and several other states. Some of these cases resembled a rare inflammatory illness called Kawasaki Disease.

What Is Kawasaki Disease?

Kawasaki Disease is a rare inflammatory disease that causes blood vessels to become inflamed or swollen throughout the body. We do not know what causes Kawasaki Disease. More than 80% of the children who get it are younger than 5 years of age.

The hallmark of Kawasaki Disease is a persistent high fever (over 101°F) for at least 4 days in addition to rash, redness to eyes, lips/tongue, swelling and redness to hands/feet and neck swelling. Kawasaki Disease Shock Syndrome is a rare form of this disease characterized by severe inflammation resulting in a child becoming critically ill.

What Is Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) and Why Do Doctors Think This Is Related to COVID-19?

On April 27, 2020 the United Kingdom released a statement describing a number of children who were presenting critically ill. They had some clinical features of Kawasaki Disease and Kawasaki Disease Shock Syndrome.

Soon after, multiple reports of cases came from across Europe and in the United States. Some PMIS patients were found to carry the virus causing COVID-19 and some had proteins in their body showing that they previously had the infection. A significant number of patients were exposed to someone with COVID-19 infection.

A key finding of PMIS is evidence of severe inflammation, which is similar to Kawasaki Disease and like Kawasaki Disease, children with PMIS also have high fevers and can present with red eyes, and rash. However, PMIS patients tend to be older than typical Kawasaki Disease patients. Some of their blood tests, including markers of inflammation, are more abnormal than patients with Kawasaki disease.

Severe abdominal pain and diarrhea is another common complaint with PMIS. So far, we know the similarities between these two diseases, but we do not have sufficient information to fully understand the differences.

At this time, we do recommend seeking medical evaluation with your primary care doctor if your child has persistent fevers over 101°F as well as severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, or rash that could not be explained by another cause.

Call East Cary Family Physicians to seek an appointment. Also note that ECFP is providing Tele-Health option for health visits.

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What is epilepsy and how to treat it?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that leads to recurrent and unpredictable seizures and loss of awareness. Affecting both males and females of all ages, epilepsy can be diagnosed if there are at least two unprovoked seizures.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Epilepsy may include temporary confusion, staring anything blankly for a few seconds, twitching in arms or legs, unconsciousness, and anxiety. A person with this problem will likely have the same kind of seizure every time, which means the symptoms will also be similar.

Diagnoses

To find out the cause of the seizures, your doctor may ask you to get several tests done. To evaluate this chronic disorder, you might have to do go for a neurological exam, different blood tests, Electroencephalogram (EEG), High-density EEG, Computerized tomography (CT) scan, Positron emission tomography (PET), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Functional MRI (fMRI), or Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT).

To find the exact position of the seizure in the brain, your doctor may use the following techniques:

  • Curry analysis
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Statistical parametric mapping (SPM)

Treatment

This chronic disorder is usually treated with anti-seizure (anti-epileptic) medication; however, it may also have side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, the problem in speaking, and more. The doctor may also performsurgery to check the origin of the seizure and to determine other factors. Some of the common types of surgeries that can be performed include:

  • Focal resection
  • Lesionectomy
  • Multiple Subpial Transections
  • Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy
  • Anatomical or Functional Hemispherectomy and Hemispherotomy
  • Corpus Callosotomy
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery
  • Neurostimulation Device Implantations

Apart from the surgeries and medications, epilepsy can also be treated by therapies such as Vagus nerve stimulation, Ketogenic diet, and Deep brain stimulation.

How to control seizures?

Merely by making a little change to your lifestyle, you can control seizures. It is advised you never to skip your medicines, get proper sleep (at least 6 hours in a day), wear a medical alert bracelet, avoid alcohol & cigarettes, and do some physical exercise.

To know more about epilepsy and seizures, contact the best doctors in Cary or the city you are living in.