The Dangers of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome to Kids:
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, otherwise known as HUS, is a serious condition. However, it actually starts from something that, while serious, is not life-threatening to most of its victims. HUS is a side-effect in some people, usually those with compromised immune systems, of infection with E. coli. But its important to know that, like any kind of like germ, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. So, most types of E. coli are actually completely harmless and will actually help with keeping your digestive tract nice and clean.
Did you know E. coli doesn’t just cause food poisoning but is sometimes also responsible for pneumonia and urinary tract infections? It actually causes seventy-five percent to ninety-five percent of urinary tract infections. This is a type of bacteria with many strains, some of which normally lives in your intestines, but for which there are strains that produce Shiga toxin, which is very dangerous. Some E. coli, as noted, can cause urinary tract infections or other ailments, but Shiga toxin producing E. coli is known by the onset of bloody diarrhea.
How do you become infected with HUS?
“HUS from E.coli infections results when bacterial toxins cross from the intestines into the bloodstream and damage very small blood vessels.”
E.coli comes from ingesting contaminated food – that’s right, food with feces in it. It may have come from eating raw meat, untreated milk, vegetables and fruit, or any other food that comes into contact with fecal matter.
What is HUS and how does this affect a child?
“Hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, is a kidney condition that happens when red blood cells are destroyed and block the kidneys’ filtering system.”
Through this condition, a child can develop an acute kidney injury. This means the child’s kidneys temporarily stop functioning and some require dialysis, blood transfusions, and at times a kidney transplant. For kids, this can often mean several kidney transplants over a life-time.
Children are more likely to develop HUS than most, and kids with weakened immune systems, kids with a family history of HUS, and kids under the age of 5 that have been diagnosed with an E.coli O157:H7 infection, are the most susceptible.
Children with HUS may have a variety of symptoms that include: vomiting, headache, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. Kids may have many complications due to HUS. These include; acute kidney injury, high blood pressure, blood clotting, seizures, heart problems, chronic, or long-lasting kidney disease, stroke, or coma. Kids may even develop life-long diseases due to HUS.
But, HUS can be prevented. You can avoid unsanitary swimming areas; clean utensils and food areas frequently; cook meat to the sufficient temperature; limit contact with pets other than the house-hold pet who lives with you; and seek medical attention quickly every time there are signs of bloody diarrhea.