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Anemia - iron deficiency - children
Treatment involves iron supplements (ferrous sulfate), which are taken by mouth. The iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach, but many people need to take the supplements with food to avoid stomach upset.
If you cannot tolerate iron supplements by mouth, iron may be given by injection into a muscle or through a vein (IV).
Milk and antacids can interfere with iron absorption and should not be taken at the same time as iron supplements.
Iron-rich foods include raisins, meats (especially liver), fish, poultry, egg yolks, legumes (peas and beans), and whole-grain bread.
With treatment, the outcome is likely to be good. In most cases, the blood counts will return to normal in 2 months. It is essential to determine the cause of the iron deficiency. If it is being caused by blood loss other than monthly menstruation, further investigation will be needed.
You should continue taking iron supplements for another 6 to 12 months after blood counts return to normal, or as your health care provider recommends. This will help the body rebuild its iron storage.
Iron supplementation improves learning, memory, and cognitive test performance in adolescents who have low levels of iron. Iron supplementation also improves the performance of athletes with anemia and iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency anemia can affect school performance. Low iron levels are an important cause of decreased attention span, reduced alertness, and learning difficulties, both in young children and adolescents.
Excess amounts of lead may be absorbed by people with iron deficiency.
Glader B. Iron-deficiency anemia. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 455.
Heird WC. The feeding of infants and children. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 42.
O'Connor NR. Infant formula. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79:565-570.
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