Iron-deficiency anaemia is common in women and children of developing countries. For example, about 70% children and 56% women are anaemic in India. Doctors routinely prescribe iron tonics to anaemic children and women. However, in many cases, it has been found that the impact of iron supplements comes out to be less than desired. The reason for this is, parents don’t give iron tonics in the way prescribed, more due to lack of awareness than carelessness.
Lets have a look at some important points to remember regarding Iron therapy:
1. Iron tonic bought should be counter checked with the physician prescription as doses in children depend on weight and strength of tonic.
2. Iron tonic should be given 2-3 times in a day for better response and absorption.
3. It should never be accompanied with milk, green leafy vegetables or calcium tablets.They lead to ineffective absorption by forming complex with each other. If there is need to give calcium and milk, it should be given at least after 2 hours of iron.
4. Iron therapy can cause gastritis so should not be given empty stomach.
5. Lemon water or orange juice can be given with iron, it helps in better absorption.
6. Black colour stools, constipation or diarrhoea are common side defects of this therapy. Black colour stools is not a problem but if constipation or diarrhoea is to the extent which is unacceptable then change the salt and brand after consulting your doctor.
So if your child is anaemic, make sure that she is provided with duly prescribed iron supplement along with all the precautions.
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