Could Your Child Have a UTI?

Questions About Treatment

Young infants often need to stay in the hospital and have antibiotics administered via IV for several days, but older babies and toddlers might only get oral antibiotics for one to two weeks. Once the infection is gone, your doctor will likely order a kidney ultrasound and an X-ray to assess for urinary reflux, which is the common condition that may increase the risk of repeated UTIs.

If a child has reflux, the official policy is for pediatricians to prescribe a daily antibiotic for several years to prevent another infection, until a child outgrows the reflux. These recommendations haven't been updated for more than ten years, though, and they're controversial because the drugs may not make much difference. A large study from Australia found that daily antibiotics reduced a child's risk of getting another UTI from almost one in five to about one in eight, regardless of the presence of reflux. The downsides of taking a preventive antibiotic are that it can increase the odds of getting a resistant infection, the medication can cause diarrhea, and the cost might add up for parents.

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