PYAM offices will be closed from 10AM to 1PM on Wednesday November 15th for the funeral of Dr Terence Coyne.

Anemia, Iron Deficiency

Definition

Anemia means that the number of red blood cells in your child’s body is below normal.  The red blood cells carry oxygen in the bloodstream, and iron is needed for the body to produce red blood cells.  Anemia is usually caused by too little iron in the diet.  A physician must confirm this diagnosis.

Home Treatment 

Typically your doctor will prescribe an iron supplement to treat your child’s anemia.  This medicine will need to be taken for 2 to 3 months to get your child’s red blood cell level back to normal.  It can occasionally cause an upset stomach and should be taken with food to prevent this.  Mix the iron medicine with a juice containing vitamin C to improve iron absorption and prevent staining of the teeth.  (Note:  If staining occurs, use baking soda to brush it off.  The iron may change the color of bowel movements to greenish-black, but this is harmless.)  Too much iron can be dangerous and cause serious poisoning.  Keep this medicine out of your child’s reach.

Diet

If your child’s diet is well balanced, he won’t get anemia again.  Meats, fishes, and poultry have the most iron.  Raisins, dried fruits, sweet potatoes, lima beans, kidney beans, chilli beans, and pinto beans, green peas, peanut butter, enriched cereals and breads are also iron-rich foods.  Milk does not contain any iron.  Your child should not drink more than 24 ounces of milk a day, so he will have an adequate appetite for iron-containing foods.

Follow-up Visits 

Follow-up visits are typically necessary to assure that your child’s iron level is improving.  We will typically ask to see your child in 3-4 week increments to follow their hemoglobin level.

Call our office during regular hours if . . . 

Your child refuses the iron medicine.
You have other concerns or questions.