Contrary to common belief that only women are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs), small children can also suffer from it.
UTI is an infection that affects part of the urinary tract. When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a bladder infection or cystitis and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as kidney infection or pyelonephritis.
UTI is an infection from microbes with most caused by bacteria, fungi and in rare cases by viruses. Symptoms include a burning feeling when you urinate, frequent or intense urge to urinate and very little comes out when you do, pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen, cloudy, dark, bloody or strange-smelling urine.
In children, it is especially common in girls when they start toilet training and uncircumcised boys under the age of one.
It is important to always treat UTIs in children without delay to avoid further complications. It is advised to get prescribed medication from a doctor especially for very young children under the age of one.
To keep it at bay and treat it when it occurs, below are six different things you can do to remedy and prevent it.
- Change the diapers frequently
Failing to change your baby’s diaper often can cause bacteria to spread leading to a UTI. It is also important to make sure you clean your baby’s genitals properly after each change. For this, be sure to use gentle cleansers that will not irritate the skin. Studies have also shown that using a superabsorbent diaper does increase the risk of UTI in infant girls. You can always consult your doctor on the best diapers to use.
- Increase fluid intake
If your child is already suffering from UTI it is important that they take plenty of fluids. This will help in diluting the concentration of bacteria as well as help flush out the harmful microbes. Make sure your child takes water regularly and give him or her milk, homemade soup or freshly extracted fruit juice. Avoid giving your child carbonated or caffeinated drinks as these will irritate the bladder.
- Give probiotic yoghurt
As a preventive measure, give your child some probiotic yoghurt every day. It contains billions of bacteria that help fight infection-causing bacteria. This will also help maintain PH balance and strengthen their immune system. Sour pickles can also help with this as well as fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
- Encourage your child to go when needed
Having a full bladder for long as well as resisting the urge to urinate increases the risk of bacterial growth. It also puts pressure on your child’s kidneys which is unhealthy for your child. Encourage them to empty their bladder every time they need to go. This will help flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract.
- Avoid bubble baths
It is better for your small child to take showers as opposed to baths. This is because bubble baths will allow entry of bacteria and soap into the urethra causing irritation especially in girls.
- Provide proper toilet training
Potty training is recommended once your child hits 18 months of age. During this time, it is important that you teach them good hygiene such as wiping from the front to the rear. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria from the rectum to the urethra. Also teach them to keep wiping with fresh toilet paper until it comes out clean.
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