Why our Moms were always behind us with a bowl of green veggies? And we continue the same trend with our children?
Well, we all know green veggies are rich in IRON. Iron is an essential nutrient for our child’s growth. It helps:
- Produce sufficient red blood cells and haemoglobin to carry oxygen to the different parts of the body
- Maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails
- Brain and the immune system to function normally
Thus, taking sufficient Iron in diet will prevent anaemia in children.
But, how many children eat green veggies with a smile? Only if they did, half of a Mom’s struggle would end! Isn’t it?
However, even if you feed all iron-rich foods to your child, he can still be anemic.
I said this because iron-deficiency is not the sole culprit of anaemia in children.
Causes of Anaemia in children
Besides iron-deficiency, anaemia in children can also occur due to:
Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Inherited illnesses like thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia where the body produces abnormal or distorted red blood cells
Heavy or long continued blood loss from the body e.g. injury, blood loss in the stool, etc.
So, knowing the right cause of anaemia in your child is crucial before you start his treatment.
And how do you do that?
Irrespective of the cause, every anemic child shows:
- Pale skin
- Pale eye whites
- Brittle nails
- Problem in healing of wounds
- Delayed growth and development
- Extreme tiredness
- Craving for unusual foods such as chalk (the condition is known as pica)
- Loss of appetite
- Sore or swollen tongue
In severe cases, he may have a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.
How to diagnose the cause of anaemia in children?
The only way to know the exact cause of anaemia in your child is through blood examination.
The tests to diagnose the cause of anaemia in children include:
- Complete blood count (CBC) which counts the number of red and white blood cells in the body
- Blood smear exam to observe the red blood cells under a microscope
- Iron tests to determine the iron amount in blood
- Haemoglobin electrophoresis which can detect any abnormalities in the red blood cells and diagnose sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia
Therefore, don’t feed your child with iron tablets or supplements the moment you notice the signs of anaemia. Consult your paediatrician for an accurate diagnosis of the cause of anaemia. Click To Tweet
What role do parents play to treat anaemia in children?
Though it’s your paediatrician who will treat anaemia in your child, as a parent, you can play a big role in his treatment.
Always consult your doctor to understand the cause of anaemia in your child and its right treatment. Iron is essential to treat every case of anaemia, but, depending upon the cause, additional medications may be required.
Abide by the doctor’s prescription and instructions to treat anaemia in children.
Give over-the-counter supplements to treat anaemia
Neglect any digestive problems in your child. This can lead to improper absorption of nutrients and anaemia in future.
Can you prevent anaemia in children?
You can’t prevent anaemia resulting from blood loss or inherited disorders. However, you can take steps to prevent anaemia from nutrient deficiencies.
Give your child a healthy diet rich in iron and Vitamin B12. (Click here to know the richest sources of Vitamin B12 besides non-vegetarian food)
Add citrus fruits in the diet to increase the iron absorption in the child. This is especially helpful when your child’s source of iron is mostly plant based.
Give cow’s milk in children less than one year to protect them from possible iron deficiency in the future.
It’s my appeal to the parents…
Anaemia is a common disorder in children. Yet, many are still unaware of its nuances.
If you feel this article has helped you clear your doubts about anaemia in children, please share it amongst your network. Let us pledge to fight this common disorder in children and give them a healthy future.
Get in touch with our pediatricians to discuss your child’s health issues. We will be glad to help you!