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Thrombocytopenic Purpura In Children


Thrombocytopenic purpura is a bleeding disorder. Your child's immune system may have antibodies against his platelets. Platelets are cells that help blood to clot. The antibodies attach to his platelets, and then his spleen destroys the platelets. You may not know that your child has thrombocytopenic purpura early in the disease. Symptoms are often mild, but bleeding can be severe at times and become life-threatening.



  • Medicines help your child's immune system and decrease platelet destruction.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child may need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care for your child when his platelets are low:

Examine your child's skin for minor bumps, scrapes, and cuts. Injuries can increase his risk for bleeding.

  • Use caution with skin and mouth care. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush to prevent your child's skin and gums from bleeding. Have your child use lip balm to prevent his lips from cracking.
  • Prevent constipation. Constipation can increase pressure in your child's brain and could cause bleeding. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much liquid he should drink. Ask about a stool softener or laxative if he is constipated. Do not use enemas or suppositories.
  • Have your child avoid activities that may cause scratches or bruises. Have him wear shoes or slippers to protect his feet from injury. Ask your child's healthcare provider which activities are safe for him.
  • Do not give your child aspirin or NSAIDs. These medicines can cause him to bleed and bruise more easily.
  • Have your child wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says he has thrombocytopenic purpura. Ask your child's healthcare provider where to get these items.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child is bleeding from his gums, mouth, or nose.
  • Your child has abdominal pain.
  • Your child's bowel movement has blood in it or is dark.
  • Your child has a sudden, severe headache.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child has a head injury.
  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child is drowsy or will not wake up.
  • Your child is confused or has problems seeing, talking, or hearing.
  • Your child vomits repeatedly.
  • Your baby has a bulging soft spot (fontanel) on his head.
  • Your child has sudden weakness, numbness, or problems with his balance and movement.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.