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Iron Deficiency In Children - Prevention Tips for Parents Iron is among the most important nutrients for children. It not only plays an important role in brain development but also provides energy for daily life. Deficiency of iron can have a negative impact on the development and overall health of your child and result in a condition known as iron deficiency anemia. The main causes of iron deficiency are loss of blood, poor diet, and inability to absorb iron from food. Even though it is a common condition, spotting it can be difficult. What you need is a top specialist from Rainbow Children’s Hospital who can offer baby vaccination at home and help your child be prepared for any serious, preventable condition. Thanks to the facility for home vaccination in Hyderabad , you won’t even have to go outside your home to ensure the highest quality of medical service for your child. Why is Iron important for children? Iron helps in moving oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body. Also, it is important for the muscles to store and use oxygen properly. If your child has iron deficiency, it can affect their growth and development and lead to behavioural problems. Eventually, your child will develop iron deficiency anemia where their blood won’t have enough red blood cells. This condition increases the risk of infections among children. In some cases, your child’s hemoglobin level can go really low and they might need therapy with iron injection, intravenous iron therapy, or blood transfusions. They will be required to stay in the hospital for these procedures. What are the symptoms of iron deficiency? In most cases, iron deficiency has subtle initial symptoms. It is only when your child gets iron deficiency anemia that you will be able to see the symptoms. The most common signs of the conditions include fatigue, pale complexion, cold feet and hands, craving for substances like paint, ice, dirt, or starch, and poor appetite. In some cases, your child might also show signs of slowed development and growth, frequent infections, behavioural problems, and abnormally rapid breathing. A deep red tongue, cracks on the side of the mouth, and brittle nails also indicate iron deficiency. How to prevent iron deficiency? If you are using an iron-fortified formula for feeding your baby, they are most likely getting the required amount of iron. In case you are breastfeeding, here are a few supplementation recommendations: 1. Premature infants - Start to give them an iron supplement when they are 2 weeks old and continue until they are 1 year old. If you are breastfeeding and giving
fortified formula to your baby, you can stop giving them the supplement. 2. Full-term infants - You can start giving them an iron supplement when they are 4 months old. Continue doing this until they are able to eat at least 2 servings
of iron-rich foods every day like pureed meat or fortified cereal. If you are breastfeeding and giving fortified formula to your baby with the majority of the
feedings from the latter, you can stop giving them the supplement.
Here are some other steps you can take for preventing iron deficiency in your child: 1. Serving iron-rich foods - When you start serving solids to your baby, typically between the age of 4 to 6 months, you have to feed them foods with added
iron. A few examples of such foods include iron-fortified baby cereal, pureed beans, and pureed meats. In the case of older children, good iron sources are red
meat, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and chicken. 2. Not overdoing milk - When your child is between the ages of 1 and 5, don’t make them drink more milk than 710 milliliters a day. 3. Enhancing absorption - Absorbing iron is as important as taking it. What your child needs is Vitamin C that helps in promoting dietary iron absorption. Help
them absorb iron by making them eat foods that are rich in vitamin C like cantaloupe, citrus fruits, tomatoes, dark green vegetables, bell pepper, and
Should you get your child screened for iron deficiency? Blood tests are a way of diagnosing iron deficiency as well as iron deficiency anemia. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended that you get your baby tested for the iron deficiency between the ages of 9 to 12 months. If your child has some risk factors for iron deficiency, you can get them screened again at later stages. At Rainbow Children’s Hospital, we have the best doctors who will recommend an iron supplement or a multivitamin depending on the results of the screening. It is possible to prevent iron deficiency in children. In order to keep the growth and development of your child on track, you have to give them iron-rich foods during snacks and meals. Talk to the specialists at the Rainbow Children’s Hospital about whether your child needs home vaccination in Bangalore or a screening.
Senior Consultant – Pediatric Intensivist and pediatrcian
Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills