Urinary Tract Infection, Child

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the kidneys or bladder. This infection is usually caused by bacteria.

CAUSES

  • Ignoring the need to urinate or holding urine for long periods of time.

  • Not emptying the bladder completely during urination.

  • In girls, wiping from back to front after urination or bowel movements.

  • Using bubble bath, shampoos, or soaps in your child's bath water.

  • Constipation.

  • Abnormalities of the kidneys or bladder.

SYMPTOMS

  • Frequent urination.

  • Pain or burning sensation with urination.

  • Urine that smells unusual or is cloudy.

  • Lower abdominal or back pain.

  • Bed wetting.

  • Difficulty urinating.

  • Blood in the urine.

  • Fever.

  • Irritability.

DIAGNOSIS

A UTI is diagnosed with a urine culture. A urine culture detects bacteria and yeast in urine. A sample of urine will need to be collected for a urine culture.

TREATMENT

A bladder infection (cystitis) or kidney infection (pyelonephritis) will usually respond to antibiotics. These are medications that kill germs. Your child should take all the medicine given until it is gone. Your child may feel better in a few days, but give ALL MEDICINE. Otherwise, the infection may not respond and become more difficult to treat. Response can generally be expected in 7 to 10 days.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Give your child lots of fluid to drink.

  • Avoid caffeine, tea, and carbonated beverages. They tend to irritate the bladder.

  • Do not use bubble bath, shampoos, or soaps in your child's bath water.

  • Only give your child over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your child's caregiver.

  • Do not give aspirin to children. It may cause Reye's syndrome.

  • It is important that you keep all follow-up appointments. Be sure to tell your caregiver if your child's symptoms continue or return. For repeated infections, your caregiver may need to evaluate your child's kidneys or bladder.

To prevent further infections:

  • Encourage your child to empty his or her bladder often and not to hold urine for long periods of time.

  • After a bowel movement, girls should cleanse from front to back. Use each tissue only once.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child develops back pain.

  • Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 100.5° F (38.1° C) or higher for more than 1 day.

  • Your child develops nausea or vomiting.

  • Your child's symptoms are no better after 3 days of antibiotics.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.