Urinary Tract Infections in Children - Treatment Overview
Antibiotic medicine and home care
are effective in treating most
urinary tract infections (UTIs) in infants and
children. The main goal of treatment is to prevent kidney damage and its short-
and long-term complications by eliminating the infection quickly and
completely. Early evaluation and treatment are very important. Do not delay
calling a doctor if you think your baby or young child may have a UTI.
Infants and young children with
urinary tract infections (UTIs) need early treatment to prevent kidney damage.
Your doctor is likely to base the first treatment decision on your child's
urinalysis results rather than waiting for the results
of a urine culture.
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Treatment for most children with UTIs is oral
antibiotics and home care. If your child is younger
than 3 months, is too nauseated or sick to take oral medicines, or has an
impaired immune system, a brief hospital stay and a
short course of
intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be needed. After your
child's fever and other symptoms improve and he or she is feeling better, the
doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics. The number of days a child will need to
take these medicines depends on the illness, the child's age, and the type of
Treatment if the condition gets worse or recurs
your child's urinary tract infection (UTI) does not improve after treatment
with antibiotics, he or she needs further evaluation and may need more
antibiotics. Your child may have a structural problem that is making
the infection hard to treat. Or the cause of the infection may be
different from the types of bacteria that usually cause UTIs.
the infection spreads and affects kidney function or causes widespread
infection (sepsis), your child may be hospitalized. These
complications are rare, but they can be very serious. Children with impaired
immune systems, untreated
urinary tract obstructions, and other conditions that
affect the kidneys or bladder are at higher risk for complications.
Recurrent UTIs increase the risk of long-term kidney damage and
high blood pressure. The doctor may prescribe
preventive antibiotic therapy after treatment for a first UTI if your child has
a structural problem, such as vesicoureteral reflux, that increases the risk of
repeat infections, or if your child has more than two UTIs in a 6-month
period. Doctors disagree about whether long-term use of low-dose antibiotics
can safely prevent UTIs in children.
Antibiotic resistance is one concern.