Henoch-Schönlein Purpura

Henoch-Schönlein purpura is an immune system reaction. It causes damage to small blood vessels in the skin. This causes a rash in the lower part of the body. It can also affect blood vessels of the joints, intestines, kidneys and other organs. Henoch-Schönlein purpura is also called allergic purpura.

This reaction most often affects children, but can also affect adults. The exact cause is unknown. A recent viral or bacterial infection, certain food or medicines may be a factor. Improvement occurs in 4 to 6 weeks. However, the illness may recur during the next 6 months. This is not a contagious disease and it can't be spread to others.

Home care

  • Have your child rest at home until he or she is feeling better.

  • Unless told otherwise, feed your child his or her normal diet.

  • Unless another medicine was prescribed, you can give your child acetaminophen for fever, fussiness or pain. In children over 6 months of age, you may use children's ibuprofen.

  • Give your child extra fluids for the first few days. For children under 1 year old, continue regular feedings (formula or breast). Between feedings give an oral rehydration solution, which are available from grocery and drug stores without a prescription. For children over 1 year old, give plenty of fluids like water, juice, gelatin, ginger-ale, lemonade, or popsicles.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call the healthcare provider if your child has any of these:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Symptoms get worse

  • New symptoms

  • Blood in vomit or stool

  • Pink or root-beer colored urine (this may appear up to 3 months after this illness)

  • Coughing up blood

  • Pain in the testicles

  • Headache

  • Chest pain

  • Seizure

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