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Urinary Tract Infection: Brief Version

What is a urinary tract infection?

Your child can get an infection in the bladder or the tube that carries the urine out of the body. The infection is caused by bacteria and needs to be treated. Here are signs you should watch for:

  • Your child has pain when she urinates (pees).
  • Your child has to pee right away and can’t hold it.
  • Your child has to pee often.
  • Even when your child is awake, he wets his pants.
  • Your child wets at night.
  • Your child’s urine smells bad or looks cloudy.
  • Your child has a fever or a stomachache.

How can I help my child?

  • Give antibiotics. Your child needs to take the medicine prescribed by your doctor to get better.
  • Give lots of water and fluids. Drinking lots of water and fluids helps clear up the infection. Cranberry juice may help.
  • Give pain and fever medicine. Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for the pain or for fever over 102°F (39°C). No aspirin.
  • Call your doctor. Two days after your child starts the medicine, call your child’s doctor about your child’s symptoms. You need to make sure your child is getting better.
  • Get a recheck. Your child will need another urine test about 1 week after your child finishes the antibiotic.

Call your child’s doctor right away if:

  • Your child has back pain.
  • Your child starts to act very sick

Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:

  • Your child has a fever more than 2 days after taking the medicine.
  • It still hurts your child to pee 2 days after taking the medicine.
  • You have other concerns or questions.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-06-07
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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