Our bodies need enough nutrients to function correctly. Therefore, malnutrition happens when the diet does not contain enough nutrients. It is a problem across all ages that affect a lot of people worldwide. It may be a serious case if left untreated for malnourished children. Luckily, there are effective treatments to manage it.
1. Know the Signs
Malnutrition in kids may show like the following:
- Weight loss is not made on purpose. The child lost 5-10% or more of weight over the past 3 to 6 months.
- Low body weight and check their BMI. Also, those who have under 18.5 are at risk of malnutrition.
- Does not like to eat or drink
- A feeling of tiredness all the time
- Feeling weak
- Getting ill most of the time
- Slow recovery from sickness
- Underweight for their age.
- Poor focus
- Slow healing of wounds
- The feeling of being cold most of the time
- Changes in mood
- Changes in behavior. The child may be irritable, slow, or anxious.
2. Know When to Call a Doctor
It is important to know when to see a doctor. Hence, it will prevent the condition from getting worse. However, contact a doctor if the child lost a lot of weight over the last 3 to 6 months. Check also for other symptoms of malnutrition. Doctors will check the weight and height. They will ask about any medical problems. Questions will also include changes in appetite or diet.
Malnutrition treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Also, doctors will also consider the degree of malnutrition. They may advise continuing treatment at home. Likewise, they can also offer support at home. However, severe cases may require a stay in the hospital.
Consent is very important in treatment. The specialist in charge will ask for it first about nutrition support. Hence, the patient has the choice to start or stop the support.
3. Dietary Changes
Specialists will advise about certain changes in diet that can help. They will create a diet plan to fit the needs of the child. Also, it is to ensure that they are getting enough nutrients. This type of treatment involves eating a healthier, more balanced diet. Therefore, children will eat fortified foods that contain extra nutrients. They can also snack between meals. Additionally, malnourished children can have drinks that contain lots of calories.
Furthermore, doctors will also recommend supplements. These will contain extra nutrients that the body of the child needs. Also, the child will have regular check-ups. It is to monitor any changes. Therefore, they will check if the diet is improving the condition of the child. It will be adjusted if the child is not making any progress.
4. Feeding Tubes
Feeding tubes are for those who are unable to eat. It may be because of certain conditions that prevent them from doing so. These will pass through the nose and down into the stomach. These tubes are directly into the stomach. It will be attached to the skin in the tummy. Doctors can also use a solution that contains nutrients. They will put it directly into the blood through a tube in a vein.
5. Care and Support Services
Malnutrition in kids needs extra care. Hence, it will help them cope with health problems. It includes difficulty with moving. Care and support services include help from home care visitors. They can help shop for food and cook it.
Therapists can help too. They will identify problems with daily activities. Also, they will find out solutions for the problems. The local authority can provide meals on wheels. Meals are delivered straight through home. Speech therapists can help with certain exercises. Additionally, it can help those with swallowing problems. They may also advise about dietary changes. The advice will focus on foods that are easy to swallow.
In severe cases, malnutrition treatment needs special care in the hospital. Malnourished children need enough nutrients and rehydration. Doctors will treat medical conditions that cause malnutrition. They will give vitamins and minerals. Once the patients are well enough, they can slowly start eating a normal diet. They can continue this at home.
Parents have to monitor their child’s food intake. They also have to take their measurement. Immediately report if there is no improvement. Doctors will recommend another treatment.