Kidney Infection in Children
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.
A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). A kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, is a bacterial infection. The infection usually starts in your child's bladder or urethra and moves into his or her kidney. One or both kidneys may be infected. Kidney infections are more common in children younger than 3 years.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your child has increased pain in the abdomen, sides, or back.
- Your child urinates very little or not at all.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a fever or chills.
- Your child is vomiting.
- Your child's symptoms return.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
- Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell the provider if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Change your baby's diaper frequently. Bacteria from bowel movements can enter your baby's urinary tract.
- Have your child empty his or her bladder often. Make sure your child urinates and empties his or her bladder as soon as needed. Teach your child not to hold urine for long periods of time.
- Encourage your child to drink more liquids. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best. Your child may need to drink more liquids than usual to help flush out the bacteria. Do not let your child drink caffeine or citrus juices. These can irritate your child's bladder and increase symptoms. Ask your child's healthcare provider about giving your child cranberry juice. Cranberry juice can interfere with some medicines.
- Teach your child to wipe from front to back. Your child should wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement. This will help prevent germs from getting into the urinary tract through the urethra.
- Treat your child's constipation. This may lower his or her UTI risk. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to treat your child's constipation.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Your child may need more tests. He or she may be referred to a specialist. You may need instructions for bladder training your child. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
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