How To Prevent Pneumonia In Kids
There are a few steps to prevent pneumonia in kids:
- Ensure the household is smoke-free. Never let anyone smoke near the baby or even inside the house.
- Never let your child come in close contact with people suffering from any kind of upper respiratory tract infections like cold and cough.
- If any member of the family has a throat infection or cold, never mix the childs utensils with theirs.
- Immunization for some causes of pneumonia such as whooping cough, flu, pneumococcal disease is available and part of your childs immunization schedule. Do get it on time to prevent your child from getting pneumonia.
- Ensure that your child develops personal hygiene habits like washing hands.
- Give a well-balanced diet to your child to ensure healthy weight gain. Being underweight and overweight can pave the way for infections like pneumonia.
Causes Of Pneumonia In Children
Kindly share information about pneumonia with emphasis on its effect on children.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation , pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that is most commonly caused by viruses or bacteria.
The infection is generally spread by direct contact with infected people. The disease kills an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five every year more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. It is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which make breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.
Pneumonia is caused by a number of infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. The most common are:
When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia
You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:
- Shortness of breath or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Mucus, fever or cough
If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.
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Recovery In Children With Pneumonia
For children with bacterial pneumonia, the symptoms improve within one or two days after starting appropriate treatment. Children with viral pneumonia might recover a little slower. The childs cough might last for weeks, even after the fever subsides. If the child does well on other parameters, cough is usually not a cause for concern .
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
Some types of pneumonia can be prevented by vaccines. Kids usually get routine vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcus, and whooping cough beginning at 2 months of age.
The flu vaccine is recommended for all kids ages 6 months through 19 years. Its extra important for kids who have a chronic illness such as a heart or lung disorder or asthma.
When possible, keep kids away from anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection.
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Recurrent Pneumonia In Children
Pneumonia can be a serious illness, recurrent pneumonia is a concerning and potentially dangerous condition in children. Recurrent pneumonia is defined as 2 or more episodes of pneumonia in a year or 3 episodes ever separated by an asymptomatic period of a month or clear chest X-rays. Recurrent pneumonia in children typically has underlying causes.
What Causes Pneumonia In A Child
Pneumonia is most often caused by bacteria or viruses. Some of these bacteria and viruses can be spread by direct contact with a person who is already infected with them.
Common bacteria and viruses that may cause pneumonia are:
Mycoplasma pneumonia. This often causes a mild form of the illness called walking pneumonia.
Group B streptococcus
Respiratory syncytial virus . This is most often seen in children younger than 5 years old.
Pneumonia may sometimes be caused by fungi.
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How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better
How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:
- Your age
- The cause of your pneumonia
- The severity of your pneumonia
- If you have other at-risk conditions
If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.
When Should I Seek Immediate Care
- Your child is younger than 3 months and has a fever.
- Your child is struggling to breathe or is wheezing.
- Your child’s lips or nails are bluish or gray.
- Your child’s skin between the ribs and around the neck pulls in with each breath.
- Your child has any of the following signs of dehydration:
- Crying without tears
- Dry mouth or cracked lip
- More irritable or fussy than normal
- Sleepier than usual
- Urinating less than usual or not at all
- Sunken soft spot on the top of the head if your child is younger than 1 year
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Search Strategy And Selection Criteria
Most of the morbidity and mortality estimates in this paper are based on work published by CHERGs pneumonia working group., As a first step, the group reviewed publications on childhood pneumonia and created a database including more than 2200 sources of information. Further details on the literature search strategies, inclusion criteria, methods and models used for estimating pneumonia burden were published elsewhere. However, the results of the distribution of global pneumonia episodes by regions and countries with the prevalence of exposure to main risk factors have not yet been published. Thus, we present the details on methods and models used for estimating these disaggregated figures in Appendix A .
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
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Who Is At Risk For Pneumonia
Pneumonia is common in children compared to adults. The children whose immunity is weak, who suffer from nutrition deficiency, are more susceptible to pneumonia.
Pneumonia is also common in children with genetic diseases, congenital anomalies of the chest and lungs.
Children who live in overcrowded areas or who live in unhygienic places are also more susceptible.
What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Pneumonia
Your child’s doctor may order a to diagnose pneumonia. The cause of some types of pneumonia can be determined by culturing the bacteria taken from the mucus an ill child produces from coughing. This helps doctors determine what types of treatments will work best. Some viral pneumonias can be diagnosed by testing nasal secretions.
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Some Home Remedies For Pneumonia In Kids
Here are a few home remedies that can help to ease the symptoms of pneumonia in kids:
- Rubbing garlic paste or garlic juice on your childs chest will help to clear the phlegm accumulated in the chest and lungs.
- Steam inhalation will also help to expel the phlegm and provide relief.
- Heat loosens phlegm, so you can keep a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on your childs chest to provide relief.
Do you know of any more home remedies that can help in pneumonia,? Please do share in the comments section below.
Treatment Of Pneumonia In Children
The following interventional steps may help in faster recovery of children with pneumonia .
- Taking ample rest
- Administering acetaminophen for fever and discomfort
- Taking cough medications
For children with breathing problems and severe symptoms, the following treatments might be suggested in a hospital setting.
- Oral or IV antibiotics for bacterial infection
- IV fluids if the child is unable to keep the fluids down
- Oxygen therapy
- Suctioning the childs nose and mouth to get rid of thick mucus
- Nebulizers or inhalers for wheezing
- Breathing treatment according to the pediatricians recommendations
Pneumonia due to flu may be treated with antiviral medications. Do not administer OTC drugs without consulting a doctor, and ensure the child takes the full prescribed antibiotic course and at the specific dosage suggested by the doctor.
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Things That You Can Do To Help Your Child At Home Are
- Control the fever with the proper medicine and right strength for the age of your child. Fevers lower than 101° F do not need to be treated unless the child is uncomfortable .
- Give your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- See that your child gets lots of rest.
- Do not give over-the-counter cough medicines or other OTC medicines without asking the health provider first. The child needs to cough and bring up the phlegm. Coughing is the bodys way of clearing the infection from the lungs.
- Avoid exposing your child to tobacco smoke or other irritants in the air.
Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
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What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia refers to a mild case of pneumonia that does not keep a child in bed. The symptoms often resemble a cold and are usually mild enough that they do not slow your child down. Walking pneumonia is usually diagnosed with a history and physical exam, and does not require a chest X-ray unless your childs symptoms worsen.
Who Are At The Risk Of Developing Pneumonia
All children can develop breathing problems. However, some of them are more susceptible to pneumonia. The list includes
- Premature babies
- Babies taking in secondhand smoke. That is if there is a chain smoker in the family, the baby inhales the smoke passively.
- Children who suffer from chronic lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, or cystic fibrosis.
- Children who have recently recovered from an upper respiratory tract infection like cold or influenza.
- Kids who have some genetic problems, such as sickle-cell anemia.
- Children having cardiovascular problems or defects.
- Poor nutrition can also bring down the immunity of the child adversely, which in turn makes them more susceptible to pneumonia.
- Children having feeding problems, such as aspiration .
- Kids with an immune system that is weak as a result of long-term medication .
- Children who have never been immunized or given immunizations on time can easily catch pneumonia when exposed to these viruses.
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Signs Of Pneumonia In Children
Pneumonia typically spreads from person to person. Because children spend more time indoors in cooler or cold weather, they may be more exposed to the illness during fall, winter, and early spring. The clothes your child wears or the temperature outside do not stop them from getting pneumonia.
The symptoms of pneumonia can vary from child to child. Your childâs symptoms and their severity can depend on whether bacteria or a virus caused the illness. Children infected by bacteria typically present symptoms like:
- Lack of appetite
- Unusual tiredness
Itâs often hard to tell whether bacteria or a virus causes your childâs pneumonia. If the cause is a virus, then breathing problems may come on more slowly. Your child may start wheezing and develop a worsening cough. Symptoms that often show up with viral pneumonia include:
- Rapid or harsh breathing
- General fussiness
Some parents mistake the initial signs of pneumonia as a cold or other illness. If your childâs symptoms get worse, take them in for medical treatment.
Is Pneumonia Treated Any Differently In Children
Essentially no. Just like adults, bacterial causes of pneumonia in children may be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are not used to treat pneumonia caused by viruses. Flu-related pneumonia may be treated with antiviral medicine if caught early in the course of illness. Most cases of pneumonia are treated with comfort care measures that ease symptoms. These may include:
- Drinking more fluids.
- Getting more rest.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines for cough and acetaminophen for fever. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicines to your child.
- Using a cool mist humidifier in your childs room.
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Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children
Symptoms of pneumonia in children vary greatly and depend on a childs age, overall health, cause of the infection, type of pneumonia, and even location of pneumonia in the lung. For example, if pneumonia is caused by bacteria, severe symptoms may come on quickly. When a virus is the cause, pneumonia symptoms typically develop more gradually. Milder symptoms of pneumonia in children are similar to a cold or flu and include:
Risk factors for Pediatric Pneumonia
- Children under 2 years of age
- Chronic disease
- Weakened immune system: Children who have received an organ transplant, have HIV, have had chemotherapy or long-term steroids.
What Causes Pneumonia In Children
Often, pneumonia starts after your child suffers from an upper respiratory tract infection like a cold. Sticky fluid starts to accumulate in the lungs air spaces, making it difficult for the lungs to work. This reduces the oxygen supply to the body. As a result, the child can develop difficulty in breathing.
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Pneumonia In Children Causes Symptoms And Treatment By Dr Srikanta J T
According to data published by UNICEF, Pneumonia remains the leading cause of death among children under five, killing 2,500 children a day. Children spend the majority of the cold months indoors, in close contact with others. Therefore pneumonia in children is more likely to occur during the colder months.
Most of the victims of pneumonia are reported to be less than two years old. . The good news, though, is that most children make a complete recovery from pneumonia if diagnosed and treated on time. Continue reading to understand the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of pneumonia in children.
How Can Parents Help
Kids with pneumonia need to get plenty of rest and drink lots of liquids while the body works to fight the infection.
If your child has bacterial pneumonia and the doctor prescribed antibiotics, give the medicine on schedule for as long as directed. Keeping up with the medicine doses will help your child recover faster and help prevent the infection from spreading to others in the family. If your child is wheezing, the doctor might recommend using breathing treatments.
Ask the doctor before you use a medicine to treat your child’s cough. Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not recommended for any kids under 6 years old. If your child doesnt seem to be feeling better in a few days, call your doctor for advice.
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Treatment Of Pneumonia Recurrent Pneumonia In Children
Type of treatment depends on the cause of pneumonia, severity of infection and age of child. Medication, both prescription and over the counter, is typically the most effective treatment.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are medications that treat infections and are used to treat bacterial pneumonia.
- Over the counter medications: Medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are used to reduce a childs fever.
- Hospitalization: Children may need to be hospitalized for more intense treatment if they have a rapid heat rate, rapid breathing, having difficulty breathing, have a low temperature, are dehydrated, younger than 2 months old.
Treatment of recurrent pneumonia is typically aimed at treating the pneumonia itself since symptoms and complications are an immediate concern in children. Treatment typically follows the same course as single episodes of pneumonia with medications. Because underlying medical conditions usually exist, it is imperative to identify these conditions, assess risks and possible complications and tailor treatment accordingly. Once the pneumonia has resolved, treatment of the underlying cause may be necessary.
Board certified pediatric pulmonologists Dr. Peter Schochet and Dr. Hauw Lie are dedicated to the care of infants, children and adolescents with acute or chronic respiratory disorders like recurrent pneumonia.
WELCOME TO THE PEDIATRIC PULMONOLOGISTS
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