Urinary Tract Infection ( UTI) in children

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?


A UTI is an infection in the bladder or kidneys. When it affects the bladder, it’s called cystitis, and when it reaches the kidneys, it’s known as pyelonephritis.

Symptoms and signs of a UTI include:

  • Fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Daytime wetting in toilet-trained kids
  • Vomiting or belly pain
  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Malaise
  • Poor feeding

Causes of UTIs:

Bacteria from the skin can enter the bladder through the urethra, causing UTIs.

Diagnosing UTIs:

Doctors test a urine sample using a dipstick, microscope, and culture to confirm the infection. Proper sample collection is crucial for accurate results.

Caring for a child with a UTI:

  • Antibiotics are prescribed based on age and symptoms.
  • Pain and fever relief with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Finish the antibiotic course to prevent recurrence.
  • Follow-up with the doctor to monitor progress.

Tests for children :

First-time UTI with fever may require ultrasound and, in some cases, a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) to check for urinary reflux.

Diagnosis of a UTI does require a urine culture. The sample should be obtained in an age appropriate method. A catheter sample may be needed for younger children who are not toilet trained.

Preventing UTIs:

  • Teach proper hygiene, especially wiping from front to back.
  • Prevent constipation to ensure complete bladder emptying.
  • Encourage regular fluid intake and timely bathroom breaks.
  • Some children may need daily low-dose antibiotics for prevention.

When to seek medical attention:

Call the doctor if symptoms persist after 48 hours of antibiotic use. Seek emergency care if the child appears very sick, complains of severe pain, or experiences persistent vomiting.

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