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Urinary tract infection in children


A urinary tract infection can occur in children as well as in adults, and is defined by the presence of bacteria in the urine, typically confined to the bladder. It more frequently affects girls and is one of the most common pediatric infections.


In children less than two years old who are unable to express their symptoms, many signs can point to a possible urinary tract infection: isolated fever (without apparent cause), fatigue, weight loss and digestive disorders. In the presence of these symptoms and to avoid any complications, it is important to consult a doctor who will be able to determine the cause of these symptoms. Older children who are able to put words to their symptoms will complain of abdominal pain or burning when urinating. Urine containing blood is also a potential sign of infection.


The diagnosis of a urinary tract infection in children is made after a urine dipstick test, collected after the proper cleaning of the meatus in males and the vulva in females. Mid-stream urine is ideally taken. In a child not yet potty-trained, a disinfected urine sample can be taken. If there is a presence of white blood cells, a urinary tract infection is confirmed. In the presence of nitrites, a bacterial infection is confirmed. A urine culture (urinalysis) will be sent to the laboratory to confirm the diagnosis, seek the causative organism and analyze the latter's sensitivity to various antibiotics.


Therapeutic approaches for a child urinary tract infection are the same as in adults: taking antibiotics (by prescription) is indeed the most reliable way to fight against the type of infection. In case of fever, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary the first day an ultrasound of the urinary tract will be taken within a few days. Generally, it is necessary to boost up the hygiene of the child, frequently changing diapers, and always clean a baby's bottom from front to back (to stop stool from contaminating the urinary tract).