Wednesday, March 29, 2023

How Do Kids Get Pneumonia

How Do You Treat Pneumonia

Are lung ultrasounds accurate to diagnose pneumonia in children?

The only way to tell the difference between pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses is by getting a chest X-ray, which will show whether fluid and inflammation are present in the lungs, explains Dr. Dass. While the presence of fluid around the lungsin addition to the above symptomslikely indicates pneumonia, the fluid can also be a potential sign of heart or liver complications, kidney disease, or it could possibly be a side effect of certain cancers, according to Yale Medicine. “If you pneumonia, you should see your doctor as soon as possible to make the diagnosis and start treatment early,” says Dr. Dass.

Both Dr. Dass and Dr. Patel note that treatment depends on the cause and severity of pneumonia. Some people begin to feel better with 10-14 days of antibiotics, while others may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous antibiotics and fluid replacement, explains Dr. Dass. That’s why getting to your doctor early is critical: “Most of the time, if caught early, it will mean less downtime, fewer complications, and a better prognosis,” explains Dr. Patel.

How Can Severe Illness From Covid

COVID-19 vaccines train the immune system to recognize and combat the virus effectively and prevent serious illness in case of exposure. If a person who has been vaccinated is exposed to the coronavirus, antibodies will fight the virus and offer protection against against the disease

Several vaccines have been developed for COVID-19, the purpose of which is to generate an immune response specific to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Most COVID-19 vaccines use the coronavirus spike protein to trigger an immune response. Spike proteins live on the surface of the coronavirus and cause sickness by helping the virus attach to cells. Once the spike protein enters the body, the immune system recognizes it as foreign and releases immune cells and antibodies to attack the invader. These antibodies linger in the bloodstream, meaning they can fight the virus more swiftly and effectively if exposed to the virus in the future.

The FDA has declared that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine meets the safety and efficacy standards for authorization in children ages 5-11, and scientists are continuing to conduct studies regarding this. In healthy children and adults, immunization is safe and effective. Other approved vaccinations in the U.S. include the Moderna mRNA vaccine and Janssen viral vector vaccine.

When To Call The Doctor

You should call your childs doctor if your child:

  • Has trouble breathing or is breathing much faster than usual
  • Has a bluish or gray color to the fingernails or lips
  • Is older than 6 months and has a fever over 102°F
  • Is younger than 6 months and has a temperature over 100.4°F.
  • Has a fever for more than a few days after taking antibiotics

When your child should stay home and return to school or childcare

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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.

Limit Contact With Others

Flu Treatment

One of the best things you can do when recovering from pneumonia is to limit your contact with others. As weve learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemicwhich can cause viral pneumoniastaying at least six feet away from others reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to as you breathe or talk.

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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed

Diagnosis is usually made based on the season and the extent of the illness. Based on these factors, your primary care provider may diagnose simply on a thorough history and physical examination, but may include the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Chest X-ray. A diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

  • Blood tests. Blood count for evidence of infection arterial blood gas to analyze the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood.

  • Sputum culture. A diagnostic test performed on the material that is coughed up from the lungs and into the mouth. A sputum culture is often performed to determine if an infection is present.

  • Pulse oximetry. An oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To obtain this measurement, a small sensor is taped onto a finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.

  • Chest CT scan. A test that takes images of the structures in the chest

  • Bronchoscopy. A procedure used to look inside the airways of the lungs

  • Pleural fluid culture. A culture of fluid sample taken from the pleural space to identify the bacteria that cause pneumonia

What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia In A Child

Symptoms may be a bit different for each child. They may also depend on what is causing the pneumonia. Cases of bacterial pneumonia tend to happen suddenly with these symptoms:

  • Cough that produces mucus

  • Tiredness

  • Fever

Early symptoms of viral pneumonia are the same as those of bacterial pneumonia. But with viral pneumonia, the breathing problems happen slowly. Your child may wheeze and the cough may get worse. Viral pneumonia may make a child more at risk for bacterial pneumonia.

In addition to the symptoms listed above, your child may have:

  • Chills

  • Headache

  • Fussiness

The symptoms of pneumonia may look like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

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Key Points About Pneumonia In Children

  • Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. It can be mild or serious.

  • The illness can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

  • Some common symptoms include fever, cough, tiredness , and chest pain.

  • Treatment depends on the cause of the pneumonia.

  • Some types of pneumonia can be prevented with a vaccine. Good handwashing and hygiene can also help.

Treating Pneumonia In Children

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The effectiveness of pneumonia treatment depends on whether the cause was a virus or bacteria. Doctors typically rely on a physical exam and tests, including chest x-rays and blood tests, to diagnose pneumonia. They may request a sputum culture to confirm the presence of a lung infection and use a pulse oximeter to measure your childâs oxygen levels.

If a virus caused a childâs pneumonia, treatment options are more limited. Doctors may recommend rest and medication to keep the childâs fever down if one is present. It’s recommended not to give cough suppressants with codeine or dextromethorphan to children with pneumonia. Coughing helps expel excess mucus and clears the lungs.

Antibiotics can be effective in cases where bacteria cause pneumonia. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat your childâs pneumonia, you should give them the recommended dosage as often as your doctor directs you to. Avoid the temptation to stop using them once your child shows improvement. There may still be bacteria lingering in your childâs lungs, and if you stop giving antibiotics to your child, it may allow for pneumonia to return.

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Symptoms Of Childhood Pneumonia

Pneumonia may cause respiratory symptoms such as:

  • Cough, with or without mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Bluish gray color around the nose, lips or fingernails

To diagnose your childs infection, your pediatrician may conduct these tests:

  • Pulse oximetry, a finger clip that measures how much oxygen is getting to the blood
  • Blood, urine and mucus tests to identify the germs
  • Chest X-rays or ultrasound to examine your childs lungs

Should You Assume When You Go To Public Places You Will Encounter The Omicron Variant

Yes, right now that is a good assumption. The bottom line is that everyone should be wearing a quality mask, washing your hands a lot, and avoiding crowded public places. And of course, get vaccinated, sleep well, eat healthy foods, and exercise.

The CDC provides advice about masks for people who want to learn more about what type of mask is right for them.

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Covid Symptoms In Babies And Children

Generally, COVID-19 symptoms in kids and babies are milder than those in adults, and some infected children may not have any signs of being sick at all.

COVID-19 symptoms for children and adults include:

  • Cough
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Congestion or runny nose

Fever and cough are common COVID-19 symptoms in both adults and children shortness of breath is more likely to be seen in adults. Children can have pneumonia, with or without obvious symptoms. They can also experience sore throat, excessive fatigue or diarrhea.

However, serious illness in children with COVID-19 is possible, and parents should stay alert if their child is diagnosed with, or shows signs of, the disease.

Recurrent Pneumonia In Children

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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.

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Is Pneumonia Contagious

In general, pneumonia is not contagious, but the upper respiratory viruses and bacteria that lead to it are. When these germs are in someones mouth or nose, that person can spread the illness through coughs and sneezes.

Sharing drinking glasses and eating utensils, and touching used tissues or handkerchiefs of an infected person also can spread pneumonia. If someone in your home has a respiratory infection or throat infection, keep their drinking glasses and eating utensils separate from those of other family members, and wash your hands well and often, especially if you’re handling used tissues or dirty handkerchiefs.

Causes And Risk Factors

All types of pneumonia are due to a lung infection.

Walking pneumonia is often caused by an infection with the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. M. pneumoniae infection is less common in children under 4 years old.

Many cases of walking pneumonia are caused by respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus, though tests for viruses are often not needed.

One study suggested that pneumonia caused by M. pneumoniae infection tends to occur in three- to four-year cycles.

Another study found that in recent years the cycles have occurred less frequently in some geographical areas. Depending on where you live, you may notice more cases of walking pneumonia every 3-4 years.

If you smoke in your home or have caregivers that smoke around your child, your child may be more susceptible to developing pneumonia.

Certain living conditions, such as very crowded spaces or homes with significant air pollution, can also contribute to lung infection. This is why you may see more cases of pneumonia in the colder fall and winter months, when people spend more time indoors.

Children who have other health conditions or weakened immune systems are also at risk for pneumonia.

See your doctor right away if your child:

  • lacks energy for an extended period
  • has trouble breathing
  • suffers any significant changes in behavior or appetite

Walking pneumonia is a lung infection. It can turn dangerous very quickly, especially with young children.

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Mild Pneumonia In Children

Pneumonia that is caused by certain bacteria, including Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae, usually results in milder symptoms, even in children.

This type of pneumonia, known as atypical or walking pneumonia, is prevalent among school-age children.

Children with walking pneumonia may not feel sick enough to stay home, but they could have the following symptoms:

  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for about 2 to 20 percent of all adult cases of pneumonia, but the rate is even higher among school-age children. An estimated 2 million Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections occur each year in the United States, and its the most common cause of pneumonia in school-age children.

That’s because the bacteria that can cause walking pneumonia which most often develops in late summer and fall spread from person to person. Outbreaks clearly can occur within groups that have close contact, such as schools or camps, and kids who are exposed to these germs while they’re at school often bring the illness home.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections can cause a number of symptoms, including fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, skin rash, cough, and ear infections.

Fortunately, Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections respond well to antibiotic treatment, and they are rarely serious. People who have had the infection develop some level of immunity, but a subsequent infection is possible.

Causes Of Pediatric Pneumonia

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Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air sacs, also known as the alveoli, in the lungs, usually caused by infection that causes them to fill with fluid or pus.

This inflammation interferes with the lungsâ ability to breathe and properly supply oxygen to the body, causing many of the symptoms described above.

Pneumonia is almost always caused by bacteria or a virus. In children below school age, viral infection is the most common cause. School-aged children and young adolescents are more likely to develop a bacterial infection.

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How Can I Manage My Child’s Symptoms

  • Let your child rest and sleep as much as possible. Your child may be more tired than usual. Rest and sleep help your child’s body heal.
  • Give your child liquids as directed. Liquids help your child to loosen mucus and keeps him or her from becoming dehydrated. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best for him or her. Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend water, apple juice, gelatin, broth, and popsicles.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for your child to breathe and help decrease his or her cough.

Can You Catch Pneumonia

Yes, you can catch the viruses that cause viral pneumonia – they can spread easily between people. Most children and adults with a virus just get a cold. Only a few will get pneumonia. Viral infections, including viral pneumonia, are more common in winter.

Bacterial pneumonia does not usually spread between people.

Because it’s difficult to tell whether pneumonia is viral or bacterial, it is wise to keep your child with pneumonia away from others.

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So A Common Cold Or Flu Can Turn Into Pneumonia

The short answer is: yes. “A cold and the flu are usually caused by a viral infection,” explains Dr. Patel. “Symptoms of cold and flu, such as a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and cough, are an immune response to the virus invading the body and its attempt to fight it.”

If your body can’t fight the infection on its own, “the bacteria can further invade the system, causing more severe bacterial infections and high fevers, chills, and worsening bacterial infections such as pneumonia,” says Dr. Patel.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia


In addition to the symptoms listed above, all pneumonias share the following symptoms. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever

  • Not feeling well

  • Fussiness

The symptoms of pneumonia may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child’s primary care provider for a diagnosis.

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Do All Patients With Covid

  • Do All Patients With COVID-19 Get Pneumonia? Risk Factors Center
  • According to the CDC, about 3%-17% of patients with COVID-19 develop lung-related complications that require hospitalization, such as pneumonia. Many infected individuals may have no symptoms of pneumonia, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or high fever, even though radiological investigations reveal lung lesions.

    In initial stages, COVID-19 typically causes mild flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. In later stages, it can lead to pneumonia that leads to respiratory distress syndrome. COVID-19pneumonia is a life-threatening infection that can lead to death. However, not everyone is at risk for pneumonia and severe illness.

    Although COVID-19 can affect anyone irrespective of age and health status, people with weak immunity, diabetes, or other such comorbidities are susceptible to developing serious illness from the virus.

    Kids And Families Can Reduce Coronavirus Risk Together

    Though in most cases COVID-19 seems to have less serious health consequences for children than for adults, it is important to avoid infection among children. Heres how parents and guardians can help:

    Get all your shots. Ensure that all family members receive COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they are eligible, and the same goes for flu shots and other vaccinations.

    Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and be on the lookout for serious disease in kids.

    Cough and sneeze with care. Encourage everyone in the family to cough and sneeze into their elbow, instead of their hands, and to wash their hands after each time this occurs, Milstone says. Throw away tissues after they are used, he adds.

    Keep hands off faces. Parents should remind children to avoid touching their face as much as possible. Milstone says it can help if kids carry a toy that will keep their hands busy, but he notes that parents should wash those toys regularly.

    Keep things clean. Wipe down toys and surfaces your child touches regularly, especially when traveling or when near a person who is sick. Clean surfaces at home and store cleaners in cabinets that are either too high for your child to reach or are secured with childproof cabinet locks.

    Address anxiety and stress. Talking things over as a family can help identify specific fears and clarify the facts. It also helps for families to discuss a plan in case someone gets sick or something else happens that interrupts the normal routine.


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