Deficiency of red blood cells is called anemia. It’s become a very common blood disorder and about 7% of the children in United States are anemic by the age of 18. Insufficient iron in the blood causes anemia in toddlers.
Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen from lungs to various parts of the body. This hemoglobin produced by the iron content in the blood. Iron helps in the brain to perform different functions as well. When the iron content falls down, insufficient hemoglobin would be produced which leads to poor mental functioning and fatigue and tiredness.
Symptoms of Anemia in Children
- Child appearing colorless or very pale
- Weak, tired and exhausted
- Shortness of breath
- Heart beat being very fast
- Swollen hands and feet
- Enlarged spleen
- Dark colored urine
Anemic kids can exhibit jaundice symptoms too. But jaundice can occur in non anemic children too.
When any of the above signs of anemia are visible in the child, the parents are advised to immediately seem medical attention. The doctor might advise a blood test to check the counts of the red blood cells and analyze the cause for anemia. Based on this information the treatment of anemia would be suggested.
The doctor may suggest
- Iron supplements available in the form tablets, drops, and liquids
- Iron-rich food diet
- Folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements
In case of severe anemia, the doctor may have to resort to blood transfusion, treatment of infection causing anemia, medicines to boost up the count of red blood cells.
Taking Care of Anemic Children
Each type of anemia needs a different care. The type is determined by the cause and severity. But children have much to resistance while anemic, than adults.
Children with red blood cells count on the lower side, may tire quicker than the normal ones and therefore they should indulge less in physically straining activities. The teachers and other carers should be made aware of the child’s condition. If the deficiency in iron is the cause, then following doctor’s advice on iron rich diet and iron supplements would be sufficient.
In case of enlarged spleen, the children should not be engage in sports as the chances of spleen rupture or hemorrhage are high in case of any injury.
Certain types of anemia like ‘sickle cell anemia’ needs to a more through treatment.
Due to accelerated periods of growth, children may have increased iron needs. If your doctor determines that your child could benefit from iron supplements, be sure to discuss the appropriate dosage and determine how long your child should maintain the regimen. With proper attention, iron levels can often be returned to normal and then maintained without supplementation.