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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary tract. This article discusses UTIs in children.
The infection can affect different parts of the urinary tract, including the:
Bladder, also called cystitis
Kidneys, also called pyelonephritis
Urethra -- the tube that empties urine from the bladder to the outside
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are fairly common, but not usually serious, and can be effectively treated with antibiotics.
The urinary tract is where our bodies make and get rid of urine. It comprises the kidneys, and stretches out to the ureters (the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder), down to the bladder, and finally the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur when bacteria get into the bladder or the kidneys. These bacteria are common on the skin around the anus. They can also be present near the vagina.
Normally, there are no bacteria in the urinary tract. However, some things make it easier for bacteria to enter or stay in the urinary tract. These include:
A problem in the urinary tract, called vesicoureteral reflux. This condition, which is most often present at birth, allows urine to flow back up into the ureters and kidneys.
Brain or nervous system illnesses (such as myelomeningocele, spinal cord injury, hydrocephalus) that make it harder to empty the bladder
Bubble baths or tight-fitting clothes (girls)
Changes or birth defects in the structure of the urinary tract
Not urinating often enough during the day
Wiping from back (near the anus) to front after going to the bathroom. In girls, this can bring bacteria to the opening where the urine comes out.
UTIs are more common in girls. They may occur often around age 3, as children begin toilet training. Boys who are not circumcised have a slightly higher risk of UTIs before age 1.
Most childhood UTIs will clear up within 24 to 48 hours of treatment with antibiotics and won't cause any long-term problems.
In many cases, treatment will involve your child taking antibiotic tablets at home. For lower UTIs, a three-day course of antibiotics is usually recommended. For upper UTIs, a 7 to 10-day course of antibiotics is usually recommended.
As a precaution, babies under three months old and children with more severe symptoms are usually admitted to hospital for a few days to receive antibiotics directly into a vein (intravenous antibiotics).
At home keep fever under control
Keep the child hydrated even if there is loss of appetite
Encourage them to rest more.
It isn't possible to prevent all childhood UTIs, but there are some things you can do to reduce your child's risk, such as:
encouraging girls to wipe their bottom from front to back and boys to clean around their foreskin regularly
making sure your child drinks enough and goes to the toilet regularly
buying loose-fitting cotton underwear for your child instead of underwear made from nylon or other synthetic materials
include enough fibre in your child's diet to help prevent constipation
If your child has a problem in their urinary tract that increases their risk of UTIs, such as faulty valves that allow urine to flow the wrong way, they may be prescribed low-dose antibiotics as a long-term measure to prevent further infections.
Young children have the greatest risk for kidney damage from urinary tract infections, especially if they have some unknown urinary tract abnormality. The damage can cause scarring, poor growth and abnormal function of the kidney as well as high blood pressure and other problems. For those reasons, it is imperative that your child be evaluated carefully and treated promptly.
A urine sample is needed to diagnose a UTI in a child. The sample is examined under a microscope and sent to a lab for a urine culture. It may be hard to get a urine sample in a child who is not toilet trained. The test cannot be done using a wet diaper.
Your health care provider will consider many things when deciding if and when a special study is needed, including:
The child's age and history or other UTIs (Infants and younger children usually need follow-up tests.)
The severity of the infection and how well it responds to treatment
Other medical problems or physical defects the child may have
1) Stop your daily routine and encourage your child, and your family members, to rest.
2) Provide a safe and comfortable environment for your child to process the illness.
3) Encourage plenty of fluids (water, tea, broth, soup, and breast milk). If your child is on formula, you may need to either stop the formula completely, or feed fewer ounces through the illness.
4) Turn the volume down.... Reduce activity levels, noise, excitement, schedules, chores, and tasks to a minimum.
5) Turn the lights down. Maintain a calm, quiet, peaceful environment for your child's nervous system to heal.
6) Stay indoors; play quiet games. Going outside can be too much of an energetic overload for your child's body when sick, and may prolong and intensify the stress on his body.
7) Give your child a warm bath, several times per day if necessary, and stay with your child as much as possible. Lay low, and watch your child closely. Be mindful of cool or cold drafts when getting out of the bath.
8) Regarding supplements, it is best to stop most, if not all of the supplements that your child is taking. You will need to use your judgment in making this decision.
9) Observe your child for mental status changes (see Pediatric Checklist below).
10) Please remember that the resolution of illness can take some time. The more patience you have, the more closely you observe your child, and the more you efficiently remove the stressors in your child's environments, the greater you will impact the length of recovery for your child's illness.
11) You may need to cancel plans, stay home, and not participate in previously planned activities so your child can rest and heal at home in her own comfortable, safe environment.
12) Make the first day your child feels better a slow day. Stay home and rest for the first 24 hours that the symptoms of illness have finally abated. Try not to rush back into the daily routine of life.
force your child to eat. When children are sick, or not feeling well, their
digestive systems slow down. Food is one of the last things children are
interested in when they have a fever or don't feel well. Just ensure fluid
intake, and don't push foods. Their bodies will tell you when they are ready to
start eating again. And, most importantly, avoid sugar, including juices,
flour and dairy products, and fried foods,when your child is sick, as
these foods tend to increase stress, dehydration, and mucus production in the
body, which will prolong, or worsen, the course of illness.
Nutrition Plan for a healthy child-
It is important to eat the right kind of food for a healthy mind and body. Try to incorporate 6-7 small meals/snacks during the day.Generally, all food items can be classified into six major groups as shown in the Healthy Food Pyramid.
Immediate Diet Plan
Include lots of fresh, seasonal, local and if possible organic Fruits and Vegetables.
Add plenty of Whole Grains (whole wheat flour, brown rice, whole beans).
Choose foods high in Good Fat such as olive oil, peanut oil, fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds. If you do not eat fish, talk to your doctor about taking fish supplements.
Cut down Sugary beverages and foods. Do not add any extra sugar to beverages.
Refined ingredients like white rice, white flour, maida should be completely omitted from diets.
Avoid combination of sugary and refined foods like cakes, pies, ice creams as they do the most harm.
Avoid Unhealthy Fats such as Cholesterol, Saturated and Trans Fat. Stay away from egg yolks, cream, butter, ghee, coconut, deep fried items, whole milk, dalda, vanspati.
Slash down any intake of carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
Sample Diet Plan:
1 c. whole grain cereal 1/2 c. skim or low fat milk banana
2 oz. whole grains 1/2 c. dairy 1/2 c. fruit
1 large carrot stick with 1 T. light cream cheese and 1 T. raisins
1/4 c. vegetables 1/2 oz. meat/beans 1/4 c. fruit
1 c. skim milk Whole wheat bread with 1 thick slice (2 oz.) roasted chicken, 1/4 avocado, 5 slices cucumber, and 1 leaf lettuce, and honey-mustard 1 medium orange
1 c. dairy 2 oz. whole grains 2 oz. roast chicken 3/4 c. vegetables 3/4 c. fruit
1/2 c. sliced apple and 1/2 c. cinnamon-sprinkled plain yogurt
1/2 c. fruit 1/2 c. dairy
1/2 baked sweet potato 1/2 c. broccoli raw with low fat salad dressing or steamed with 1 T. grated parmesan cheese 2 oz. herb-marinated grilled lean steak or tempeh 1 whole wheat roll
1 c. vegetables 2 oz. meat/beans 1 oz. whole grains
Eat Right and Exercise your way to a Healthy Mind and Body.