On Friday 28th October 2016 my daughter’s school had finished for half term, and as usual, a little group of us headed to our local soft play center for an end of half term celebration. She had great fun playing with her friends, we had dinner there.
The time came to go home and she started to whine and she said her feet hurt. I couldn’t get her school shoes back on, but I thought she just had hot, sweaty feet, so I said she could put her socks on and wear them just not do the buckle up. She started to cry, but I thought she was complaining because we were leaving soft play. She cried all the way home, and then she said she couldn’t walk and her feet were really sore. I thought she may have genuinely hurt her feet, she did take a little tumble earlier on at soft play but continued to play so didn’t think she had done any damage. Once we were through the door, I sat her down on the sofa and took her socks off. To my surprise, both her feet were swollen and bruises were appearing and I couldn’t even touch them without her crying, she couldn’t bear any weight.
I took her straight to A&E, hoping for a quick x-ray and a bandage and to go home. How different it was, we were whisked into a side room and they panicked because the rash did not fade, and was like tiny pinprick bruises, they thought it was meningitis, and then they realized her injuries were symmetrical and it could only be something. HSP (Henoch Schönlein Purpura). We were told she had to spend the night in the children’s ward because it can cause kidney problems, and they needed to run some tests. It was mad, how can we go from playing at soft play to being told our daughter had a rare disease involving inflammation of small blood vessels.
Doctors came in throughout the night taking blood samples, and checking he blood pressure and collecting urine samples. She was on morphine for the pain. It was heartbreaking to see. If I could switch places I would. No parent wants to see their child in pain.We were told she could go home the next evening, but to take it easy. We had to go back every Friday for 6 weeks, for a blood pressure check, and urine dip, and to check in with a consultant. Then once a month for 6 months. Thankfully she had no complications. She does get the odd bout of painful feet, and she panics it’s coming back. touch wood it hasn’t yet.
Noone knows specifically what causes HSP, we were told it seems to happen after viral or bacterial infections such as a cold, or an upper/lower respiratory tract infection. HSP tends to appear more in boys than girls and between the ages of 2-11.
What are the symptoms?
“The symptoms mainly affect four areas of the body and can come and go for several weeks or even months in some cases:
Affected in all cases
A purple-red rash, which does not turn white when pressed.
In some cases, this rash can turn into ulcers
The rash is usually over the backs of the limbs, especially the legs, which can also be swollen
Tummy aches and pains which can be severe and occasionally result in blood in the stool
Painful and swollen joints can occur due to inflammation, usually affecting the knees and ankles
Protein and blood may be found in the urine due to inflammation in the kidneys. Often this will resolve as your child gets better but can be a more serious long-term problem and will need careful monitoring”
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for HSP other than plenty of rest. symptoms usually disappear within several weeks. Painkillers can help with any joint pain. Doctors may prescribe steroids if symptoms are severe and if the kidneys have been affected.
Not many people know about HSP because it is quite rare. Please help and raise awareness by sharing.