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DefinitionIrritability is an excessive response to stimuli .
The term "irritability" is used specifically in regard to infants and young children who, when ill, demonstrate increased fussiness, whining, and fretfulness despite attempts at comforting and soothing.
Although irritability is not a symptom of any specific illness, it should arouse suspicion in the parent that something might be wrong with the child, even though there may not yet be other symptoms.
Parents are usually very aware of their child's normal behavior and may pick up early changes that would be unremarkable to the examining health care provider. This may aid in the early diagnosis of illness.
Home CareAttempt to soothe the child with usual measures -- rocking, cuddling, or whatever the child normally finds soothing. If the child cannot be consoled, consult your health care provider. Observe the child for other symptoms such as fever , abdominal pain , vomiting , rash , or any other unusual finding.
Call your health care provider if
If your child is irritable or inconsolable with or without other symptoms, consult your health care provider.
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed. Tests may include a complete blood count , electrolyte analysis, blood culture , as well as others.
Medical history questions documenting irritability in detail may include:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to irritability to your personal medical record.
Update Date: 11/10/2003John Goldenring, M.D., MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT