Detect and Prevent UTI’s in Children – Know the Signs
Parents might tend to think of urinary tract infections (UTIs) as bacterial infections that thump adults, but babies and young children actually have a higher risk of enduring kidney damage from UTIs than any other age group. About 3% of girls and 1% of boys will develop a UTI by the time they’re 11 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
UTIs happen when bacteria get into the urinary system through the urethra. An infection happens when germs enter the urethra, travel up to the bladder, ureters, and kidneys, and begin to grow. “Holding” urine, improper hygiene or constipation are common causes of UTIs in children. Most infections are caused by bacteria from the digestive tract.
In children, UTIs may go untreated because often the symptoms aren’t obvious to the child or parents. But UTIs in children need treatment right away to get rid of the infection, prevent the spread of the infection and reduce the chances of kidney damage.
Risk of UTI’s in Children
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child and may vary depending on the degree of infection. If your child is an infant or too young to tell you how he or she feels, the signs are likely to be vague and not linked to the urinary tract. When they do occur in younger children, symptoms can be very general. They may include:
In babies and toddlers, look out for:
- Fevers (high or low-grade)
- Lack of appetite
- Loose stools
- Foul-smelling diaper urine
- Overall malaise
In older children, look out for:
- Complaints about pain in the lower abdominal area or back
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Complaints that it “hurts to pee” and/or passing only a few drops
- Bedwetting or trouble controlling urine
The initial signs of a UTI in children can be easily overlooked. Younger children may have a difficult time describing the source of their distress. If your child looks sick and has a high fever without a runny nose, earache, or other obvious reasons for illness, consult their doctor to determine if your child has a UTI.
What to do if you think your child has a UTI?
If you think your child may have a UTI, call your paediatrician. A simple test can diagnose if your child has a UTI. To get rid of the infection, your child will need to take antibiotics.
It’s important to continue giving your child the medicine until your paediatrician says the treatment is finished, even if your child feels better. UTIs can return if not fully treated.
At-Home Treatment of UTI in Children
If your child is receiving antibiotic treatment at home, you can help ensure a positive outcome by taking certain steps.
- Give your child the prescribed medications for as long as your physician advises, even if they begin to feel healthy.
- Take your child’s temperature if they seem to have a fever.
- Monitor your child’s urination frequency.
- Ask your child about the presence of pain or burning during urination.
- Ensure that your child drinks plenty of fluids.
How to prevent a UTI in children
You can help reduce the possibility of your child developing a UTI with some proven techniques.
- Don’t give girl child bubble baths. They can allow bacteria and soap to enter the urethra.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing and underwear for your child, especially girls.
- Have your kids drink lots of water, which helps flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Avoid allowing your child to have caffeine, which can cause bladder irritation.
- Change your baby’s diapers often to prevent bacteria from growing.
- Encourage your kids to go to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge — not to hold it in.
- Encourage your child to use the bathroom frequently rather than holding in urine.
- Teach your child safe wiping techniques, especially after bowel movements. Wiping from front to back reduces the likelihood that bacteria from the anus will get transferred into the urethra.
If your child gets repeated UTIs, preventive antibiotics are sometimes advised. However, they haven’t been found to decrease recurrence or other complications. Be sure to follow the instructions even if your child doesn’t have symptoms of a UTI.Contact Us