Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to our body. Iron is essential for production of healthy red blood cells. The lack of iron in the body may lead to anemia. This is called Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA).
The body gets iron through certain foods. A diet that does not have enough iron is the most common cause of this type of anemia in children. Toddlers who drink too much cow's milk may also become iron deficient if they are not eating other healthy foods that have iron. Other rare causes may be:
Mild anemia may have no symptoms. As the iron level and blood counts become lower. Your child may:
Hb, MCV, Serum Ferritin, Serum Iron, Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), and Iron Saturation.
Treatment for iron deficiency anemia in your child usually involves giving iron medicine and modifying your child diet to increase iron levels in the blood.
Doctor will prescribe an iron medicine to restore the iron missing from your child's body. This is taken as a tablet or syrup, usually twice a day. Some child can experience side effects when taking iron treatment, which includes:
These side effects should settle down over time. However, it is better to give medicine with food or shortly after eating if child has troublesome side effects. Iron injections may be recommended instead of syrup, in rare situations.
Below is the list of foods rich in iron:
Your child's diet should include foods from all the major food groups to ensure it's healthy and balanced. In particular, food and drink containing vitamin C are important as vitamin C helps your child food pipe absorb more iron.
Consuming large amounts of following foods and drinks may reduce absorption of iron:
It is important that you bring your child to the clinic in two to four weeks after you've started giving iron treatment. We will check how well your child is responding to the treatment. Your child will have a blood test to check the hemoglobin levels. You can discuss blood results with doctor over the phone after 2 days of blood test. If the blood test results shows an improvement, your child should continue taking iron supplements and return to anemia clinic in 3 months for another blood test. Once your hemoglobin levels and iron levels are normal, your child should be able to stop taking the treatment. Your child condition will be monitored every three months over the course of a year, and again a year later.
If your child iron levels still haven't improved, in spite of taking the supplements as prescribed, then we may need to do further investigations to find out the reasons.
Iron medicine is available as a syrup and tablet that can be given to your child by mouth. Rarely, iron also can be given by injection. It improves anemia by helping to increase the iron level in the blood.
The dose and time will be shown on the medicine label. Usually it works best when given on an empty stomach. Try to give it 30 minutes before or 2 hours after food. However, if this upsets your child's stomach, give it with a little food. Shake the bottle well and measure out the right amount using an oral syringe.
Your child will need to take iron medicine regularly for at least 3 months for it to have its full benefits.
If your child vomited within 30 minutes after taking the medicine, give him/her the same dose again. If your child vomited 30 minutes after having a dose of iron medicine, you do not need to give them another dose.
You would be required to give iron medicine twice a day. If you remember within 4 hours of scheduled time, give your child the missed dose. If not, skip the dose.
Your child may feel like vomiting. He/She might get indigestion, constipation or loose stools. Their vomit or stools might be black or red colored. If these side-effects are a problem or do not go away, contact your doctor.
As you may already know, you have a family member, who has been diagnosed as Thalassemia Minor (carrier). This letter is to give you information about what this may mean for you and other family members. Although thalassemia minor (carrier) does not cause any health problems for anyone who has it but following information would be useful.
1. Blood result of a person with thalassemia carrier (minor) may be similar to iron deficiency anemia. But they should only be given iron medicine if further blood test shows that there is low iron in their blood. However, children with thalassemia minor are being prescribed iron medicine believing as having iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, they often get excess iron unnecessarily, which can cause organ damage. Knowing the fact that you or your child has thalassemia carrier (minor), your child can avoid unnecessary intake of iron medicine.
2. If both father and mother have thalassemia minor (carrier), there is a chance that their child will have thalassemia major disease. UAE law states that they should have medical report certifying thalassemia carrier status before getting married. But it's always better to know the fact much earlier before talking about marriage.
We hope you find this information helpful.
For more information, please contact our pediatric anemia clinic.
This is a form of thalassemia. It does not affect the health of the person who has thalassemia minor. It will not impair your work or your life style. A thalassemia trait (minor) will always be a trait. It will never turn in to a severe form of thalassemia major. It is due to genetic defect. Although they are completely normal but they carry the defective gene and pass it on to the next generation. Therefore they are also called thalassemia carrier. There are two types of thalassemia traits (minor): Alpha thalassemia trait (minor) and Beta thalassemia trait (minor).
Complete blood count (CBC) of children with thalassemia carrier (minor) may be similar to iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, they are being prescribed iron medicine believing that they are having iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, they often get excess iron supplements unnecessarily, which can cause organ damage. Children with thalassemia should only take iron medicine if a blood test confirms there is iron deficiency. Knowing the fact that your child has thalassemia carrier (minor), your child can avoid unnecessary intake of iron medicine.
Thalassemia minor does not affect health of your child; however, there is a possibility that their children can have thalassemia minor. There is also a possibility that their children can get thalassemia major disease (a severe form of thalassemia), if their husband or wife is also a thalassemia carrier.
The following tests identify most types of thalassemia trait. It can all be done by one-time blood test.
If you know that your child has a thalassemia trait (minor), you may have questions about how this will affect your family members. Informing other family members of the possibility that they may also have thalassemia minor (carrier) will be useful. Burjeel hospital has created specific information leaflet that describes all the information they needed.