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Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) in Children: Care Instructions


Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) makes the small blood vessels in your child's body swell. It can cause a red or purple rash on the 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. Certain foods, or even an insect bite, can also trigger HSP.

Most of the time, the rash and joint pain 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 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.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give medicines as prescribed.
  • Do not give a child with HSP anti-inflammatory medicines without talking to your doctor first. These medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve).
  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give a child 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 the doctor prescribed steroid medicines, give them as directed.
  • Give your child lots of fluids.

When should you call for help?

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

  • Your child has signs of needing more fluids. These signs include sunken eyes with few tears, a dry mouth with little or no spit, and little or no urine for 6 hours.
  • Your child has new belly pain, or the pain gets worse.
  • Your child has blood in his or her urine.
  • Your child's stools are black and tar-like or have streaks of blood.
  • Your child has pain, swelling, or tenderness in his scrotum.
  • Your child is confused or having trouble thinking clearly.

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

  • Your child has new joint pain, or the pain gets worse.
  • Your child does 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.