What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition in which red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body are not present in sufficient numbers. Although there are other causes, the vast majority of cases of anemia are due to iron deficiency.
Symptoms of anemia include pallor (pale appearance), lethargy (drowsiness to unconsciousness), poor growth and a tendency to fatigue easily. Other symptoms of anemia exist which are less common.
If your child is diagnosed with anemia, usually an iron supplement is prescribed. The medication is usually given for several months to replenish the iron stores of the body.
Iron deficiency anemia is preventable. At birth, an infant is born with extra iron reserves. By two months of age, these stores have been utilized and the child requires extra iron. Occasionally, depending upon the nutritional status of the mother, iron supplementation is prescribed for the infant. You should consult your physician regarding recommendations for your specific child. Infants who are bottle-fed should be on formula which is fortified with iron. The use of low iron formula for infants older than two months of age is generally discouraged.
“1 & Up”
Children over the age of one should have a diet high in foods containing irons. Examples of foods high in iron are beef, pork, liver, chicken, iron fortified cereal, beans, peas, eggs, tuna, peanut butter, tomatoes, pasta, green vegetables and prune juice.
Less commonly, there are a number of genetic (family trait) causes for anemia in a child, such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, or hemoglobin E. Some of these can represent serious health risks. Be prepared to inform your physician of any forms of anemia that has occurred in your family. All infants are screened for these disorders at birth.