Immune (Idiopathic) Thrombocytopenic Purpura (Pediatric)

Your child is diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). This blood disorder causes your child’s immune system to destroy his or her body’s own platelets (cells that help stop bleeding). As a result, your child may have a higher risk for bleeding. Even without treatment, most children recover from ITP within a few months. Here's what you need to know about home care.


  • Don’t give your child the following medicines, which interfere with blood clotting (unless approved by your child's healthcare provider):

    • Aspirin

    • Ibuprofen

    • Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naprosyn

    • Cough medicines that contain aspirin or ibuprofen

  • Don’t give your child any other medicines without checking with your child’s healthcare provider first. This includes over-the-counter medicines and any herbal remedies or supplements.

  • Give your child all medicines exactly as directed.

Reducing the risk of bleeding

Recommendations include the following:

  • Talk to your child about ways he or she can avoid bruising or bumping the skin.

  • Be careful when using nail trimmers on your child.

  • Teach your child to blow his or her nose very gently (to avoid nosebleeds).

  • Use a cool steam vaporizer to keep the air inside your home moist enough to prevent nosebleeds, especially in your child’s bedroom.

  • Make sure your child wears hard-soled shoes when outside.

  • If your child has problems with bleeding gums, ask your child’s healthcare provider or dentist about getting a sponge toothbrush (instead of one with bristles). 

  • Talk with your child’s healthcare provider before allowing your child to take part in any sports or athletic activities that carry a risk of injury.

  • Tell your child’s school about your child’s condition. Ask your child’s healthcare provider to give guidelines to the school about your child’s participation in activities and sports.

  • Tell your child’s dentist that your child has ITP prior to any procedures.


Here are suggestions for follow-up care:

  • Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments. Your child’s healthcare provider will need to monitor your child’s blood platelet count closely.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your child’s healthcare provider right away your child has any of the following:

  • Easy bruising

  • Bleeding for no apparent reason

  • Heavy bleeding or bleeding that lasts longer than usual, including heavier-than-normal menstrual bleeding

  • Tiny areas of pinpoint bleeding on (or just under) the skin of the arms or legs

  • Blood in the urine or stool

  • Bleeding from the nose or gums

  • Headaches

  • Confusion

  • Head trauma or injury

  • Any significant injury

  • Vision changes

  • Stiff neck