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Why Do Babies Get UTIs & How Can You Prevent Them?

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When your baby is sick, you’d give anything for him to have a few words. How much easier would life be if your baby could just say, “Hey Ma! I think something’s up with my kidneys. Why don’t we get this checked out post-haste?” Unfortunately, you just have to take your best guess when your baby is unwell and leave the rest up to the doctor. This goes double in cases when your baby may have a urinary tract infection, or a UTI.  

In adults, the signs are pretty straightforward: you probably feel like you need to pee all the time. But even if babies are experiencing this sensation, they can’t put it into words. This can be exceptionally frustrating to parents who (of course!) just want their babies to be happy and healthy all the time. Unfortunately, UTIs are also fairly common in children: according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 3 percent of girls and 1 percent of boys will deal with a UTI by the time they are 11 years old. In the interest of helping your little one suffer as little as possible, here are some of the typical symptoms, treatments, and preventative measures for dealing with UTIs in babies.

Signs Of a Potential UTI

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Infants are tricky patients to diagnose. Sometimes a fever is the only indication that your baby has a UTI, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Additionally, the National Health Service points to lethargy and vomiting as other potential symptoms, but notes that determining whether your baby has a UTI can be difficult. With this in mind, if you suspect your child may have a UTI, you will need to see a doctor for testing to confirm this and provide the correct treatment.

What Will the Doctor Check?

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To test for a UTI, your doctor will need a urine sample from your child. Because your baby does not yet have the dexterity to pee in a cup, the doctor may use a plastic collection bag, catheter, or needle inserted into the bladder, according to info from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The sample is then checked for bacteria and tested to determine the best medication for treatment.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, UTIs are treated with specific antibiotics for one to two weeks. Furthermore, the organization notes that it is important to treat the infection quickly to reduce chances of kidney damage.

How Can You Prevent UTIs

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Sometimes UTIs are inevitable, but you can still follow good preventative measures to put the odds in your baby’s favor. To help lower your child’s risk of getting a UTI, the  National Health Service recommends you clean your child carefully and make sure they get plenty of fluids to help with the flow.