Adults are not the only ones who can get urinary tract infections (UTIs). In fact 8% of girls and 2 % of boys will contract an urinary tract infection before they are five years old. Urinary tract infections are painful and require treatment to prevent the infection from getting worse and affecting the kidneys. If you suspect that your child has an UTI, it is important to seek medical attention to eradicate the infection and prevent further complications .
What is a UTI?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that enter the opening of the urethra (the duct that carries urine from the bladder out of the body) and move upward to the urinary bladder and in some cases the kidneys. If left untreated the infection can become severe, and in very rare cases the bacteria may enter the bloodstream from the kidneys and cause infection of the bloodstream (sepsis) or of other organs.
In younger children such as infants there may be no symptoms other than a fever. Older children such as toddlers may express pain or burning during urination, pain in the lower stomach, frequent urination in addition to a fever.
How do children contract them?
UTIs occur when bacteria from your child’s skin or from their feces gets into the urinary tract. Because of the length of the urethra in girls and the fact that bacteria from the anus can more easily get into the vagina, girls are more likely to contract UTIs.
Antibiotics are given to treat a bacterial infection and your child should have relief in one week. As with all antibiotics it is important that your child takes all of her medication even if the symptoms clear up prior to taking the last dose.
How can you prevent them from occurring?
- If your child is in diapers, make sure to change them frequently to prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Teach your child good bathroom habits to prevent UTIs. It is important that girls are instructed to wipe from front to back. This will help to prevent bacteria in feces from entering the vagina and urinary tract.
- Teach your children the importance of going to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge. Holding their pee can lead to infection.
- Avoid giving bubble baths and using perfumed soaps with girls.
- Make sure your children (girls especially) wear cotton underwear to improve airflow and prevent bacteria from growing.
- Have your kids drink plenty of water, which will help to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
If you suspect that your child may have a urinary tract infection, we are here to to answer all of your questions and get your child back to feeling 100 percent. Please check out one of our many locations in the Saint Louis area for all of your health and wellness needs.