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Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP): Care Instructions


Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) makes the small blood vessels in your body swell. It can cause a red or purple rash on your legs and buttocks, joint pain, or belly pain. It may also be called IgA vasculitis.

Often the cause of HSP is not known. Sometimes it can be caused by another illness, such as a cold or virus. Some foods, or even an insect bite, can also trigger HSP.

Most of the time, the rash and joint pain should go away within a few weeks. Belly pain will likely go away sooner, within 3 days in most cases.

Follow-up care is a key part of your 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 you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Do not take anti-inflammatory medicines when you have HSP without talking to your doctor first. These medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve).
  • You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If your doctor prescribed steroid medicines, take them as directed.
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of needing more fluids. You have sunken eyes, a dry mouth, and you pass only a little urine.
  • You have new belly pain, or the pain gets worse.
  • You have blood in your urine.
  • Your stools are black and tar-like or have streaks of blood.
  • You have pain, swelling, or tenderness in your scrotum.
  • You are confused or having trouble thinking clearly.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You have new joint pain, or the pain gets worse.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.