Does my child have a urine infection?

Urine infections are relatively common in children, especially when warm outside like today.

My daughter had a urine infection a few months into potty training and it only became evident when I realised she wasn’t making it to the toilet in time and over the space of 2 days almost every single wee ended up on the floor and not in the toilet.

(The collection of hanging tiny pants on the line explains the fun we all had.)

We initially thought it was a little potty training set back but then realised quite how frequently she was needing to spend a penny and so managed to catch a urine sample to test for infection.

It can be quite a challenge to diagnose urine infections in children!

Whereas an adult might mention tummy pains, a burning or stinging when they wee and point out that they are passing urine very frequently – a child is far less likely to make these things obvious (or even experience them at all).

So how do you know if your child has a urine infection?

If your child has:

  • A fever with no obvious cause (for example no other signs of a cold like a runny nose or cough)
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness and irritability
  • Not eating well
  • Blood in their wee or very smelly wee

…best to go for a check up.

An older child might let you know they have tummy pains or that it hurts when they wee.

Try to catch a urine sample and book a GP appointment.

How do I get a urine sample from my child?

With great difficulty!

Ideally you need to catch the middle of their urinary stream in a sterile pot.  (Good luck there!)  The more practical/feasible/have-a-hope-in-hell-of-working options however are as follows:

In a potty trained child – catch the urine in a potty or any clean receptacle (my favourite was when someone brought wee in a Play Doh pot!).

In a baby/non potty trained child –  your GP should have some special pads that can be put inside the nappy to collect a urine sample.

If you can’t take the sample to your GP straight away, put it in a fridge.

On some occasions it is not possible to collect any urine and in that case your child may be referred to the paediatricians in hospital who can insert a catheter and get some out that way.

How is a urine infection treated?

Generally a short course of antibiotics will do the trick.

Under certain circumstances your child may be referred for further investigations but more often than not – it is an infection easily treated by your GP.

Can I prevent my little one from getting a urine infection?

  • Teach girls to wipe from front to back. (So as not to introduce germs from the back passage into the urinary tract.)
  • Keep constipation at bay! (Constipation can increase the likelihood of a urine infection.)
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty and goes to the toilet regularly. (Dehydration and holding wee in both increase the risk of a urine infection.)

So, #DrMummyTips this week…

“It’s easy to miss the signs of urine infection in kids”

Join me on Facebook for regular #DrMummyTips!

Please note: The materials in this website are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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