Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You'll probably first see your family doctor or pediatrician. However, in some cases your child may also be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating children's hearts (pediatric cardiologist).
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, as well as what you can expect from your child's doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated. Try to keep track of how high your child's fever has been and how long it has lasted.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins or supplements that your child is taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to join you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your appointment. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For Kawasaki disease, some basic questions to ask your child's doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my child's symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes for his or her symptoms?
- Does my child need any tests?
- How long will the symptoms last?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What are the possible side effects of the treatments?
- Are there any steps I can take to make my child more comfortable?
- What signs or symptoms should I watch for that might indicate that he or she is getting worse?
- What's my child's long-term prognosis?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that may come up during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your child's doctor may ask:
- When did your child begin experiencing symptoms?
- How severe are the symptoms? How high has your child's fever been? How long did it last?
- What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
- Has your child been exposed to any infectious diseases?
- Has your child been taking any medications?
- Does your child have any allergies?
What you can do in the meantime
Initially, you can give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) to reduce the fever and make him or her more comfortable. However, these products are not recommended for low fevers, and treating your child's fever will make it difficult to accurately measure how severe the fever is and the actual duration of the fever. Additionally, don't give your child aspirin without consulting the doctor first. In children and teenagers, taking aspirin during certain viral infections, such as chickenpox, has been associated with the development of Reye's syndrome — a rare but serious disorder. Kawasaki treatment is a rare exception to the rule against aspirin use in children, but only when given under the supervision of your child's doctor.
- Kawasaki disease. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec19/ch286/ch286d.html#sec19-ch286-ch286c-1987. Accessed Dec. 7, 2010.
- Harnden A, et al. Kawasaki disease. British Medical Journal. 2009;338:1514.
- Baker AL, et al. Kawasaki disease. Circulation. 2008;118:e110.
- Wood LE, et al. Kawasaki disease in children. Heart. 2009;95:787.
- Kawasaki Disease. American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4634. Accessed Oct. 25, 2010.
- Sundel R. Initial treatment and prognosis of Kawasaki disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 1, 2010.