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Anemia and Your Child

Anemia

McKenzie Pediatrics 2019

What is anemia and how can I tell if my child is anemic?

Anemia is a condition that occurs when there are not enough red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the other cells in the body. The body's cells need oxygen to survive. Your child may become anemic for any of the following reasons:

Signs and Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia causes the following signs and symptoms:

Children with severe anemia may have the following additional signs and symptoms:

Also, a newborn with hemolytic anemia may become jaundiced (turn yellow), although many newborns are mildly jaundiced and do not become anemic.

Children who lack iron in their diets may also eat strange things such as ice, dirt, clay, and cornstarch. This behavior is called "pica." It is not harmful unless your child eats something toxic, such as lead paint chips. Usually the pica stops after the anemia is treated and as the child grows older.

If your child shows any of these symptoms or signs, see your pediatrician. A simple blood count can diagnose anemia in most cases.

Preventing Anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia and other nutritional anemias can be prevented easily. Make sure your child is eating a well-balanced diet by following these suggestions:

With proper treatment, your child's anemia should improve quickly. Be sure to contact your pediatrician if you think your child might be anemic.