Children can become anaemic when the red blood cells do not provide enough oxygen to their body. The cause of most anaemia is iron deficiency.
The typical symptoms of anaemia are pale skin, lethargy, rapid heartbeat, loss of appetite, irritability, brittle nails, and swollen or sore tongue. Many times however, a child can be anaemic and not show any symptoms at all.
Iron deficiency can be caused by not having enough iron in the diet, blood loss, or poor absorption of iron.
Being anaemic can be dangerous if left untreated. A child who is severely iron deficient can suffer from mental and physical problems that may be permanent. Even in the case of minor iron deficiency, studies have shown that there is an effect on a child’s ability to pay attention.
Children between the ages of 9 and 23 months have a high risk of becoming anaemic due to the rate of rapid growth during this period. This is the time that extra iron should be introduced to the child’s diet.
Believe it or not, if your child drinks too much milk they can suffer iron deficiency. Milk is good for a child, but lacks in iron. If a child is filling up on milk, they may be eating less iron rich foods. Additionally, milk can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron.
If you suspect that your child is anaemic, call the doctor. It only takes a simple blood test to diagnose the condition. If the doctor finds that your child is anaemic, they will counsel you on dietary changes and supplements.
Once treatment is started, you should see an improvement with two or three months.