Updated: May 14
As we consider the rise in Coronavirus-related illnesses, there is a real urgency to keep informed, as a preventative measure for the most vulnerable: our children. Whilst it isn’t uncommon to be misdiagnosed or to be told to simply stay at home, the effects of not receiving the necessary treatment can have a life-threatening impact, a scary reality that Dee Izmail encountered when her daughter was just seven months old. Nadia, was a late diagnosis of Kawasaki Disease, having caused inflammation of the blood vessels that lead to heart and circulatory complications.
Nadia’s Mystery Illness
Mistaken for a common flu virus, Nadia was prescribed a short course of antibiotics to tackle a high fever and angry rash. With growing concern, Dee took Nadia back to the paediatricians after seeing a lack of improvement in her condition. By chance, on the fourth visit, the pair were seen by a South African Nurse who recognised distinctive symptoms (high temperature, body rash, infected eye, ulcerated mouth and loss of appetite and peeling skin) the same of which he had encountered in his home country: He identified it as Kawasaki Syndrome, a then rare, partly genetic illness that causes heart disease in children under five years old. As a result of Dee’s persistence, the diagnosis meant that Nadia was treated with 10 days of immunoglobulins and Aspirin over the course of three years to help prevent her from a cardiac arrest.
Since being treated, Nadia has grown up to live a relatively healthy life now 27 though she has experienced chest pains intermittently which is consistent with reports from other adult KD survivors.
Dee does not believe that this is as rare disease as many children still go undiagnosed and emerging later in adult life as respiratory and heart complications.
Hence her extensive work to spread awareness and making a parent hand guide and recent published research files accessible on her website.
Whilst your child may have not had direct contact with persons carrying Coronavirus, it is imperative to identify similar symptoms for an early diagnosis. Some of these may include: High fever lasting at least five days, breathlessness, rashes on the skin, redness on the inside of the lips and tongue as well as tummy ache. This advice comes in light of new evidence suggesting that Kawasaki Disease and other immune system-related illnesses are being triggered by Covid-19, in reference to the increase of children going into intensive care during April 2020. It has been reported that some of the patients are testing positive for both Kawasaki syndrome and SARS-CoV-2, which are generating new points of interest for clinicians. With only eight in every one hundred thousand children being treated for Kawasaki every year, analysing the correlation between the sudden spike of cases and the Coronavirus seems like a plausible link to be making.
As well as being the key sponsor for Kawasaki Disease UK, Dee Izmail has been an independent couture and prêt-à-porter designer for over thirty years. From dressing the Spice Girls to creating collections which encapsulated versatile cultures across the globe, her success in the fashion industry hasn’t held her back from her dedication to charity. Although her mission to tackle Kawasaki Disease requires further research, funding and public support, her fashion brand Dee Izmail is the driving force behind the campaign to inform parents and to save lives.
Written by Dee Izmail mother of KD child and Founder of Kawasaki Disease UK