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Alternative Names Return to topInconsolability
Definition Return to top
Irritability is an excessive response to stimuli.
Considerations Return to top
The term "irritability" is used for infants and young children who, when ill, are especially fussy, whiny, and fretful, despite attempts at comforting and soothing them.
Parents are usually very aware of their child's normal behavior and may pick up early changes that the health care provider wouldn't notice. This can help diagnose illness early.
Causes Return to top
Irritability can be a very early sign of serious problems. 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.
Causes of irritability include:
Home Care Return to top
Attempt 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.
Watch the child for other symptoms such as:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if your child is irritable or inconsolable, with or without other symptoms.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Tests may include:
Medical history questions documenting irritability in detail may include:
After seeing your health care provider, you may want to add a diagnosis related to irritability to your personal medical record.Update Date: 11/12/2007 Updated by: Rachel A. Lewis, M.D., F.A.A.P., Columbia University Pediatric Faculty Practice, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.