Clotting Factor Deficiencies in Children: Care Instructions

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Blood vessel

Your Care Instructions

Clotting factors are substances in the blood that help stop bleeding after a cut or injury. They also prevent sudden bleeding. In people who have clotting factor problems, the clotting factors do not work right or, in some cases, are missing. When blood does not clot well, even minor injuries can cause serious bleeding. This can lead to blood loss, injury to internal organs, or damage to muscles or joints.

Several conditions, including hemophilia, can make it hard for the blood to clot. Your doctor can treat your child with replacement clotting factors. Your child also may take medicine to prevent bleeding. Your child may often have clotting factors transfused into a vein to prevent bleeding, or he or she may get them as needed.

You may eventually learn to do this at home. You and your child can also try to prevent injuries that can cause bleeding.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • Encourage your child to exercise safely. Avoid contact sports. Your child can swim or walk. Check with your doctor before letting your child do activities—such as riding a bike—that may put your child at high risk for falls.
  • Help your child brush and floss their teeth daily. This may help your child avoid problems that could lead to having a tooth pulled.
  • Do not give your child nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). They can increase the chance of bleeding.
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Take care to prevent accidents at home.
    • Make sure rugs are tacked down so your child does not slip.
    • Keep furniture with sharp edges out of pathways.
    • Use nonskid floor wax.
    • Wipe up spills quickly.
    • If you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the winter, sprinkle salt on steps and sidewalks.
    • Make sure your child's shoes are not too big, so that your child does not fall.
  • Have your child wear medical alert jewelry that lists the clotting problem. You can buy this at most drugstores.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has signs of severe bleeding, which includes:
    • Your child has a severe headache that is different from past headaches.
    • Your child vomits blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
    • Your child's stools are maroon or very bloody.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child is dizzy or lightheaded or feels like they may faint.
  • Your child has abnormal bleeding, such as:
    • A nosebleed that doesn't easily stop. This means your child's nose is still bleeding after you have pinched the nose shut 2 times for 15 minutes each time (30 minutes total).
    • Stools are black and look like tar, or they have streaks of blood.
    • Your child has blood in their urine.
    • Your child has joint pain.
    • Your child has bruises or blood spots under the skin.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.