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The word Anemia denotes insufficient haemoglobin in red blood cells or decreased number of circulating red blood cells. (Normal Hb values vary with age). It is only a symptom of other disorders and not a disease in itself. For proper treatment, the cause must be found and treated.

Sex or Age most Affected

both sexes; all ages.

Signs & Symptons

Signs of pronounced anemia include:

  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Paleness, especially in the hands and lining of the lower eyelids.

Less common signs include:

  • Beefy-red tongue.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Unusual quietness or withdrawal in a child.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Cravings for ice, paint or dirt (pica).
  • �Susceptibility to infection.


Inadequate intake of Iron:

  • Between 6 months and 2 years of age, children may consume large quantities of milk, to the exclusion of iron-containing foods.

Decreased absorption of Iron:

  • Malabsorption syndromes

Increases requirement:

  • Growth spurts

Increased losses:

  • Chronic blood loss as in hookworm infections
  • Premature birth- premature babies often have low stores of iron at birth.


Risk Increases With




Maintain an adequate iron intake through a well-balanced diet or iron supplements. Provide iron-fortified formula for bottle-fed infants.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • History and examination by a doctor.
  • Laboratory blood studies, especially of hemoglobin, red-blood-cell counts, hematocrit & blood indices.
  • Stool examination to detect worms or occult blood.


General Measures

The most important part of treatment for iron-deficiency anemia is to correct the underlying cause. Iron deficiency can be treated well with oral iron supplements. Injectables and Blood transfusions are very rarely required.


Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements. REMEMBER

  • Give iron on an empty stomach (at least 1/2-hour before meals) for best absorption. If it upsets your child’s stomach, you may give it with a small amount of food (except milk).
  • If other medications are being given, wait at least 2 hours after taking iron before taking them. Antacids and tetracyclines especially interfere with iron absorption.
  • � Continue iron supplements until 2 to 3 months after blood tests return to normal.
  • Because liquid iron supplements may discolor the teeth, a child should preferably drink any liquid iron preparation through a straw. Iron supplements may also cause black bowel movements, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Too much iron is dangerous. A bottle of iron tablets can poison a child. Keep iron supplements out of the reach of children.


  • Give your child enough protein and iron-containing foods, including meat, beans and leafy green vegetables.
  • Increase dietary fiber to prevent constipation.

Contact your Doctor

  • Nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea or constipation occur during treatment