Osteomyelitis in Children: Symptoms and Treatment
What is osteomyelitis?
Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone. Infection is more typical in the long bones of the body, however it can impact any bone in the body. Osteomyelitis can take place in children of any age, but is more common in premature infants and babies born with complications since their immune systems may not be totally established.
Only 2 out of every 10,000 people get osteomyelitis. The condition affects children and grownups, although in various ways. Particular conditions and habits that damage the immune system increase a person’s risk for osteomyelitis.
What causes osteomyelitis?
Several types of bacteria can cause osteomyelitis. The most common type of bacteria is called Staphylococcus aureus. Fungi can also cause osteomyelitis. The bacteria and fungi can get in the body in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, the following:
- Infected injuries
- Open fractures in which damaged bones penetrate through the skin
- Foreign things penetrating the skin
- Infected joints
- Infection that spreads from another source inside the body, such as ear infections
What are the symptoms of osteomyelitis?
The following are the most common symptoms of osteomyelitis. Nevertheless, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may consist of:
- Tenderness or pain in the infected area
- The child may have limited use or may not use the infected extremity at all
- The child generally will secure or safeguard this area from being touched or seen
- Swelling in the infected area
- Inflammation in the infected area
- Warmth around the infected area
It is very important to look for medical attention right away if osteomyelitis is believed. The symptoms of osteomyelitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Constantly consult your child’s doctor for a medical diagnosis.
How is osteomyelitis diagnosed?
The doctor makes the diagnosis of osteomyelitis with a complete medical history of the child, health examination, and diagnostic tests. The doctor obtains a total prenatal and birth history of the child and asks if the child has any current colds or other infections.
Diagnostic treatments may include:
- X-rays. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto movie.
- Bone scans. A nuclear imaging technique to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic modifications in the joints; to identify bone illness and tumors; to identify the reason for bone pain or swelling.
- Blood tests
Treatment of osteomyelitis
Specific treatment for osteomyelitis will be figured out by your child’s doctor based upon:
- Your child’s age, general health, and case history
- The extent of the condition
- Your child’s tolerance for specific medications, treatments, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or choice
The goal of treatment is to relieve the pain and entirely treat the infection. Treatment may consist of one, or a mix, of the following:
- Antibiotics to combat the infection
- Pain medications
- Surgery to clean out the infected area in and around the bone
Long-lasting outlook for a child with osteomyelitis
Most of the times, the infection is treated with antibiotic medication. In severe cases of osteomyelitis, the infection can be really harmful to the bone, surrounding muscles, tendons, and capillary, leading to long-term or chronic infection. Amputation of the infected limb is uncommon.