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Why woud a 1 year old have anemia and turn yellow & red when hot / exercising?

(18 Posts)
threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 01:53:39

I'm posting on behalf of one of my dearest friends, who's asked me to. She's not able to get on the internet easily at the moment but she'd be very grateful for any help.

Her 1 year old has recently been diagnosed as being anemic, after a long period of being sick. He's been sick for nearly a month and turns alarming colours when he runs around or has a hot bath.

They live in Vermont, USA, where there was recently severe flooding after a hurricane - they are living in a natural disaster zone at the moment.

He ingested some of the flood water and she suspects this may be the cause of the illness.

It started nearly a month ago. First of all he was sick for a week, also he had a runny tummy. He was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia, and tool anti-biotics for 9 days.

They thought he was getting better but then every time he exercises or gets hot, he goes a very wrong-looking white-yellow colour (like the colour of a blister). At the same time he gets a red strip on his face, his eyes go purple and sunken and parts of his face go blotchy. He also get tired quickly.

Because of this they've run lots of tests ans established:

- his heart rate is accelerated
- his heart rhythm is good
- he has anemia
- his liver is working
- he does not have leukemia
- his body is fighting another virus

She's asking herself why he's been sick so long, how a 1 year old can have anemia, what's the underlying cause of this and what does it mean when he goes that funny colour?

I wonder if any of you might be able to help?

They're seeing the pediatrician there, but it's a 7 hour return journey through roads with massive holes in them due to the hurricane.

I know she'd be very grateful for any advice.


frutilla Sun 02-Oct-11 03:07:36

I am not experienced in this but I have suffered from long-term anaemia.
The rapid pulse is a symptom of anaemia....extreme tiredness is another symptom. I have no idea what the colour change could mean, but if he is severely anaemic, his blood will not be oxygenating his body properly and he will feel awful. I hope the doctors get to the bottom of this and the LO gets better soon.

threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 11:07:48

Thanks for the reply fruitilla.

How does someone become anemic I wonder? What does it mean if a 1 year old is anemic.

spottypancake Sun 02-Oct-11 11:14:17

I think that there are different types of anaemia.

One is iron deficiency - is he a poor eater/poor milk drinker? If he is glugging loads of formula, I would have thought that iron level would be OK as formula is fortified with it. How much is he eating? Chicken/broccoli etc? Washed down with vit C containing stuff like OJ to help iron uptake.

There are other types and causes, but I don't really know about them, sorry.

threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 12:50:37

He's a good eater and still BF. They've got him on iron drops now and his mum is taking iron supplements too, hoping it'll boost the levels of iron in her milk.

threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 12:56:50

It's not just the anemia that's troubling them, he's been ill (to the point of pneumonia at one point) for nearly a month now. And the tests showed he's fighting another infection. My friend's gut instinct is that he got it from the flood waters. They were really dirty, the flooding was immense - whole houses got washed away. Sorry if too much information but it was so bad that the bodies in the cemetery came up out of the ground, and there was loads of sewage in the water. Goodness knows what was in the water he ingested.

Her neighbour got flood water on a cut and went down with a pretty serious infection.

Or maybe it's just coincidence and one of those times when lots of bad things happen at once. I feel for her being so far away from help - they're up in the mountains and the roads were wrecked by the floods. Also having to deal with the US medical system. Here I know I'd be popping into the Drs (just round the corner) with every new symptom.

threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 13:51:40

Could a child develop anemia as a result of an infection?

frutilla Sun 02-Oct-11 18:57:48

If he was anaemic when he was born it could have been due to his mother's diet. I was severely anaemic in pregnancy and had to have injections. He might be getting iron in the diet but have absorption issues. I think a haemotologist would need to be consulted, that's where I was referred. There are probs infant supplements that could be prescribed.

threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 20:45:12

Thanks for the reply frutilla. If he was anemic when he was born would it have been obvious in the first year of his life - i.e. would he have had symptoms?

He's only done the changing colour thing and getting very tired since he got sick about a month ago.

I would be very surprised if my friend wasn't taking folic acid and iron supplements in pregnancy, she's really into taking vitamins. (I'll ask when we next talk though).

AAAvegetable Sun 02-Oct-11 20:47:07

My DD was anemic and we had lots of tests for coeliacs disease as that is a common cause of anemia in little children.

threefeethighandrising Sun 02-Oct-11 21:51:19

AAAvegetable thanks for that I'll have a look and let my friend know what I find.

Do you recognise the description of the child turning yellow with red blotches when exercising? It's not subtle shades BTW - it's very obvious / striking.

How is your DD now?

threefeethighandrising Tue 04-Oct-11 15:17:01

Do anyone recognise the description of a child turning yellow with red blotches when exercising?

threefeethighandrising Wed 05-Oct-11 00:19:40


nightcat Wed 05-Oct-11 22:50:06

Like AAA, I think wheat based diet could explain inflammation/infection and anaemia, wheat/gluten intolerance tend to build up in time.
If he is normally pale and only comes aglow with exercise, that would be another sign. Gluten suppresses liver enzymes (normal liver test can also mean low normal) and exercise would force the body into working much harder so yellow-ish when exercising might mean liver is struggling to keep up then.

threefeethighandrising Thu 06-Oct-11 00:59:57

Can ceoliac's disease cause anemia? (sorry if that's a stupid question!)

threefeethighandrising Thu 06-Oct-11 01:18:47

Sorry it is a stupid question, I see you've answered it already sorry.

threefeethighandrising Thu 06-Oct-11 02:02:03

Just spoke to my friend and the doctors have told her that they think that her son is iron-deficient anemic because he's been breastfeeding too much.

Is this possible?! He's about 14 months now I think
<losing track of time emoticon>

nightcat Thu 06-Oct-11 20:05:42

obv he is not exclusively on BM, is he, what's the rest of his food like?
Coeliac can cause anaemia, tiredness, inflammation and immune reacton, also enzyme problems. If he has any gut symptoms then gluten might be the problem.

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