KIDNEY INFECTION, ACUTE (Acute Pyelonephritis)
DESCRIPTIONAcute kidney infection is a non-contagious bacterial infection of the kidneys. The kidneys and urinary tract are involved. Acute kidney infection can affect both sexes but is more common in females of all ages.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFever and shaking chills.
Burning, frequent urination.
Cloudy urine or blood in the urine.
Aching (sometimes severe) in one or both sides of the lower back.
Note: Young children may not have typical symptoms or signs. Sometimes the only symptom may be fever, fatigue, or headache without discomfort with urinating.
Sudden onset of:
CAUSESInfections elsewhere in the body that travel to the kidneys through the bloodstream or lymph glands.
Blockage or abnormality of the urinary system, caused by stones, obstructions, bladder dysfunction from nerve diseases, tumors, or congenital abnormalities.
Catheters, tubes, or surgical procedures used for other medical conditions.
Bacteria (most commonly escherichia coli) invade one or both kidneys. The infection may begin in the bladder. The most common sources of bacterial infection are:
Diabetes mellitus; chronic urinary-bladder infection or tumor; paralysis from spinal-cord injury or tumor; pregnancy.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures for males. For females:
After bowel movements, always wipe from the vaginal area toward the rectum.
Avoid prolonged moistness around the urethra, such as that caused by nylon underpants or wet swim suits.
Acute kidney infections in males of any age may indicate a serious underlying disease, such as a tumor or obstruction. Consult your doctor even if your child's symptoms disappear spontaneously.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; special X-rays; urinalysis and urine culture (See Glossary).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSChronic kidney infection and hypertension.
Usually curable in 10 to 14 days with treatment. Your child should return to the doctor to assure complete cure.
HOME CARETo collect urine for urinalysis or culture:
Females: Clean the vaginal area with warm, soapy water; sponge dry. Spread the vaginal lips with one hand and urinate briefly into the toilet bowl. Then urinate into the container.
Males: Pull back the foreskin of the penis if you are not circumcised. Clean the end of the penis with soapy water. Urinate briefly into the toilet bowl, then into the special container.
MEDICATIONOral antibiotics. Your child should take all the antibiotics prescribed, even if symptoms disappear.
Intravenous or injected antibiotics, if oral antibiotics don't cure the infection.
Urinary analgesics to relieve pain.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child should rest in bed until high fever and discomfort subside.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Encourage the child to drink at least 2 quarts of liquid daily; include cranberry juice to acidify the urine.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of a kidney infection.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Symptoms and fever persist after 48 hours of antibiotic treatment. Occasionally a different antibiotic is needed.
-- Symptoms return (especially if accompanied by fever) after antibiotic treatment.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.