Urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection of the urinary system as it can affect kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. While is it prevalent in adults especially women, children too can get UTI. According to Dr. Suresh Gowda, Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist at Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore, a lot of parents aren’t aware of the risk of UTI in their children. This is why they fail to recognise the symptoms let alone the causes. In this article, we will talk about urinary tract infections in kids in detail. Every parent must read the information to save their kids.
Urinary Tract Infections in Children
By the time children turn 5 years old, about 8 percent of girls and 1 - 2 percent of boys have had a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are caused by the urinary tract infecting bacteria which attacks the organs and tubes that produce, store and transfer urine in our body. Kidneys, the ureters, the bladder and the urethra make up the urinary tract.
Symptoms of UTI in Kids
The linings of your bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys most frequently get red and swollen when you have a UTI. Older children may complain of pain in the low region of the stomach or back, as well as frequent urination. When he or she urinates, your child will scream, or complain that it hurts to urinate and only a few drops pass. He or she may have problems with bladder control as well and may have accidents or wet the bed.
The symptoms are likely to be ambiguous and not connected to the urinary tract if your child is an infant or too young to tell you how he or she feels. Your child may have an elevated fever or maybe grouchy and not eating. Often a child just has a low-grade fever, loose stools, or doesn't appear healthy at all. You will note the "smells bad." the diaper urine.
You can take him or her to see a health care professional if your child has a high fever and looks ill without a specific cause (such as a runny nose or earache). The bacteria can spread to the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection or permanent kidney damage if the cause is a kidney infection and it is not treated at once.
Here are some signs of a UTI:
- Pressure, burning or a sensation of stinging while urinating
- Urinating often or having an urgent need to urinate, often without urinating
- Urine that smells bad and can look cloudy or have blood in it
- Low back pain or around the bladder
What Causes UTI In Children?
Natural urine has no bacteria in it and is sterile. Yet bacteria cover the skin and are present in the rectal region and in stools in large numbers. Bacteria can migrate up the urethra into the bladder at times. When this happens, the bacteria multiply and can cause infection, unless the body gets rid of the bacteria.
There are 2 basic forms of UTIs: infection of the bladder and infection of the kidney. It may cause swelling and bladder pain if the infection is in the bladder. This is called cystitis.
The kidney infection is called pyelonephritis as the bacteria migrate up from the bladder via the ureters and enter and invade the kidneys. Infections of the kidney are more severe than infections of the bladder and can damage the kidney, particularly in young children. Many kids that get urinary tract infections have regular kidneys and bladders, however, in order to better protect the kidneys, irregularities should be identified as early as possible in life.
Children with UTI: What Parents Need to Know
Certain habits can help avoid UTIs if your child has a normal urinary tract. One of the body's strongest defences against UTIs is also draining the bladder. To flush bacteria out of the body, drinking more fluids can improve urine production. Some kids are more likely to get UTIs, and antibiotics at low doses can help.
Changing diapers more frequently can help prevent UTIs in babies and small children. It is important to teach them good bathroom habits when kids begin toilet training. Girls should wipe from front to rear after each bowel movement, not rear to front. This prevents the transmission of germs from the anus to the urethra. If they need to urinate and can enter a toilet, children can also stop "holding it in". Urine sitting too long in the bladder provides bacteria with a good place to expand.
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. If your health care professional suspects that your child has a UTI, he or she can choose a drug that most likely triggers the issue to cure the bacteria. Sometimes a few days later, the antibiotic can be modified to one that works better against the form of urine culture after the health care provider has the results of the urine culture. By encouraging him or her to drink plenty of water and urinate regularly, you will also help your child fight the infection.
The type of infection may depend on the antibiotic medication, the manner in which it is administered, and the number of days it needs to be taken The antibiotic may need to be given as shots in the hospital with your child if your child is really sick and unable to drink. Otherwise, it is possible to administer the drug by mouth. Your child can take a single dose per day or up to 4 doses per day, depending on the type of antibiotic used. Before more tests are done, you can be advised to give your child meds.
Your child can feel much better after a few doses of the antibiotic. Most UTIs are cured within a week if treated the right way, but often it may take weeks until all the symptoms are gone Even if the symptoms have gone away, it is vital for your child to take the antibiotic medicine as prescribed by your health care provider. They can return, or your child may get another infection unless UTIs are fully treated.
Disclaimer- If symptoms get worse or do not get better within 3 days, your child may need to go to the hospital and its best to consult a paediatrician at the earliest.
UTI is not common in children and therefore many parents don’t know if this condition can happen to their kids. Awareness regarding urinary tract infections in children is, therefore, very important. You must watch out for the signs and symptoms of UTI in kids and consult a paediatrician to treat the same.
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