Bleeding Precautions When Children are on Anticoagulant Medication

Bleeding Precautions When Children are on Anticoagulant Medication

Anticoagulant therapy, also called blood thinner therapy, is medicine that helps prevent and treat blood clots. The medicine works by stopping blood clots from forming or growing.

Blood clots that form in your child’s blood vessels can be dangerous. They can break loose and travel to the heart, lungs, or brain. This increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or blocked lung artery (pulmonary embolism).

Anticoagulants also increase the risk of bleeding. Be very careful to protect your child from cuts and other injuries that can cause bleeding. It is important that your child takes anticoagulants exactly as told by your child’s health care provider.

What do I need to remember while my child is on anticoagulant therapy?

Giving your child anticoagulants

  • Give your child the medicine at the same time every day. If you forget to give the medicine, give it as soon as you remember. Do notdouble your child’s dosage of medicine if he or she misses a whole day. Give your child’s normal dose and call your child’s health care provider.
  • Do notstop giving the medicine unless your child’s health care provider approves. Stopping the medicine can increase your child’s risk of developing a blood clot.

Giving your child other medicines

  • Give your child over-the-counter and prescriptions medicines only as told by your child’s health care provider. Some medicines may increase your child’s risk of bleeding.
  • Do notgive your child over-the-counter NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen, while she or he is on anticoagulant therapy. These medicines increase your child’s risk of dangerous bleeding.
  • Get approval from your child’s health care provider before you start giving your child any new medicines, vitamins, or herbal products. Some of these could interfere with your child’s therapy.

General instructions

  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your child’s health care provider. This is important.
  • Tell your child’s dentist, other health care providers, teachers, and other caregivers that your child is on anticoagulant therapy. It is especially important to tell providers about this before your child has any surgery, medical procedures, or dental work done.

What bleeding precautions should be taken?

  • Follow all safety instructions as told by your child’s health care provider.
  • Always secure your child in a car seat that is right for your child’s age and is installed properly.
  • Have your child avoid contact sports and activities that have a high risk for injury.
  • Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush for your child. Teeth should be brushed gently.
  • Make sure your child always wears shoes outdoors and wears slippers indoors.
  • Childproof your home and take steps to prevent falls in the home by:
    • Keeping a night-light on at night.
    • Using a safety gate to protect young children from stairways or porches.
    • Adding a safety rail to your toddler’s bed.
  • If your child is crawling, keep him or her in carpeted areas as much as possible.
  • Keep sharp furniture or objects away from young children. If these objects cannot be removed, pad any corners that are hard or sharp.

What other precautions should be taken if on warfarin therapy?

If your child is taking a type of anticoagulant called warfarin:

  • Work with a diet and nutrition specialist (dietitian) to make an eating plan for your child.Do notmake any sudden changes to your child’s diet after the eating plan has been started.
  • Make sure your child has regular blood tests as told by your child’s health care provider.

What are some questions to ask my child’s health care provider?

  • Why does my child need anticoagulant therapy?
  • What is the best anticoagulant therapy for my child’s condition?
  • How long will my child need anticoagulant therapy?
  • What are the side effects of anticoagulant therapy?
  • When should my child take the medicine? What should I do if I forget to give my child the medicine?
  • Will my child need to have regular blood tests?
  • Does my child need to change her or his diet? Are there foods or drinks that my child should avoid?
  • What activities are safe for my child?

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Your child misses a dose of medicine:
    • And you are not sure what to do.
    • For more than one day.
  • Your child has:
    • Menstrual bleeding that is heavier than normal.
    • Bloody or brown urine.
    • Easy bruising.
    • Black and tarry stool or bright red stool.
    • Side effects from the medicine.
  • Your child feels weak or dizzy.

Get help right away if:

  • Your child has bleeding that will not stop within 20 minutes from:
    • The nose.
    • The gums.
    • A cut on the skin.
  • Your child has a severe headache or stomachache.
  • Your child vomits or coughs up blood.
  • Your child falls or hits his or her head.

Summary

  • Anticoagulant therapy, or blood thinner therapy, is medicine that helps prevent and treat blood clots.
  • Talk with your health care provider about any precautions your child should take while on anticoagulant therapy.
  • Contact a health care provider if your child has any signs of bleeding.
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