Kidney infections are difficult to diagnose in infants and young children as the symptoms are less specific. Understanding and recognising the symptoms of kidney infection in children can help parents seek prompt medical treatment.
Kidney infection or renal infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by E. coli bacteria. According to the National Health Service (NHS), children under two years of age are more susceptible to kidney infections.
Most kidney infections are caused by bacteria that live in the bowel. Despite the safeguards of immune defences, infection occurs when bacteria attach to the lining of the urinary tract. Kidney infections are difficult to diagnose in infants and young children as the symptoms are less specific. Sometimes, fever is the only sign.
The symptoms of kidney infection in children are:
Children do not develop a high fever with a bladder infection, but slight increase in body temperature may persist throughout the illness. Fever may accompany chills or shivering. Not always a bladder infection turns into kidney infection, but parents must be wary of any signs of a kidney infection and report the same to a doctor.
Children with kidney infection may have the urge to urinate more than usual. Moreover, they experience burning sensation or irritation while urinating. The burning comes from an irritated urethra. Frequent or painful urination is indicative of a simple bladder infection, but can also be present in a severe kidney infection.
Children suffering from a kidney infection might refuse to eat or drink and will often act irritable. Moreover, he/she may experience vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. In young ones, there can be signs of jaundice (a yellowish colour).
If your kid is complaining of a stomach-ache more than often, he might have kidney infection. The abdomen of children with kidney infection is tender to touch. They may hold stomach often and remain uninterested in activities they usually enjoy.
Children with kidney infection may get blood in their urine. Furthermore, their urine may be of a foul or strong smell. There could be pus in urine; in such a case parents must call a paediatrician or make an appointment to get your kid examined as soon as possible. Cramps can also be experienced in a child's lower back or lower abdomen.
If your kid is extremely irritable, refuses to eat, has loose bowel movements and complains of other symptoms that seem more like a general illness, it can be a kidney infection. However, a child who has urination issues is most likely to be suffering from an infection. These symptoms shouldn’t be taken lightly and reported to the doctor as soon as possible.
Understanding and recognising the symptoms of kidney infection in children can help parents seek prompt medical treatment. Most of the times, kidney infections are not serious, however, they can be painful and eventually lead to more serious conditions such as permanent kidney damage and blood poisoning (sepsis). If a paediatrician suspects that a child has a kidney infection, he/she will prescribe a urine test to confirm it.
Read more articles on Kidney Diseases.
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