Saturday, February 5, 2011


Henoch–Schönlein purpura (HSP)

Henoch–Schönlein purpura (HSP) is a form of blood vessel inflammation or vasculitis which affects the capilliaries and frequently the kidneys. It results in a skin rash associated to joint pains (arthritis) and sometimes cramping pain in the abdomen.

HSP is an unusual reaction of the body's immune system in response to an infection (either bacteria or virus), usually of the upper respiratory tract. Drugs can also trigger this condition. HSP occurs most commonly in children, but people of all age groups can be affected.

The Symptom

Alex usually wears tights/leggings during winter. One day, when she came home from kindergarten, we found red spots on the area of her calf. It was a cross between a bruise and an insect bite, and has a very deep red to purple color. At first we suspected they were bruises. We dismissed it since it didn't hurt her. So we thought it might just be some form of allergy from wearing tights and having very dry skin.

After a couple of days or so, similar spots appeared near her elbow. Then, the last straw was the one that appeared on the joint of her middle finger. At this point, we still didn't have any idea what it was so we decided to take her to the doctor.

The pedia immediately suspected HSP and recommended Alex to go to hospital. The doctors in the hospital had her admitted on the very same day; she stayed for 10 days.

Various tests were made to check her blood and kidney. They took blood and constantly monitored her weewee. She was immediately put on antibiotics. Later on, we learned that this was a wise move since she was also positive with Streptococcus pneumoniae (or pneumococcus).

Then more medications were prescribed when the test results came out positive for HSP. Thankfully, she didn't have any of the associated symptoms. Her kidneys were clear, but they had to put her on Prednisone (a synthetic corticosteroid drug) to prevent further complications, plus other meds and supplements to counter some side effects.


Now Alex is home. However, she cannot go back to kindergarten until she finishes the countless medications she took home with her:

Penbene (syrup) - antibiotics
Prednisone (tablet) - sytnhetic corticosteroid
Famotidin (tablet) - inhibits stomach acid production
Ascorutin (tablet) - for blood vessels and a lack of vitamin C.
Zyrtec (drops) - antihistamine
Kaldyum (capsule) - potassium
Celoskon (tablet) - vitamin C supplement
Biogaia (drops) - probiotic drops
Vitamin E (tablet) - supplement
Fish Oil with vitamins D & E (syrup)

Most of these she has to take twice a day, some even thrice, except for the supplements. As if a 4-year old taking tablets is not bad enough, Alex also had to be woken up at odd hours for the not so tasty antibiotics. :(

Oh well, you gotta do what you have to do. Looking at the brighter side of things, we have at least a couple of things to be thankful for. First, Alex is doing ok. Ever since the beginning, no one would suspect that she's sick, except for the rashes. Secondly, the prognosis for HSP patients are excellent with no long-term problems. Hopefully, it will not recur for Alex.

It's not over yet, but I believe we are getting there. Thank you Lord, and thank you everyone for all your prayers!

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