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A spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture) is a test to check the fluid that surrounds and protects your child's spinal cord and brain. Your doctor may have done this test to look for an infection. In some cases, it's done to release pressure from too much fluid. Or it may be done to look for certain diseases.
Your child may feel tired. His or her back may be sore where the needle went in. (This is called the puncture site.) Your child may have a mild headache for a day or two. This can happen when some of the spinal fluid is taken out. Some children also have trouble sleeping for a day or two.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Adaptation Date: 2/28/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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