What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children vary from child to child and also depend on your childs age, cause of the infection, and severity of their illness.
Usual symptoms include:
- Cry more than usual. Are restless or more fussy.
Adolescents have the same symptoms as adults, including:
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
Newborns are at greater risk of pneumonia caused by bacteria present in the birth canal. In young children, viruses are the main cause of pneumonia.
Pneumonia caused by bacteria tends to happen suddenly, starting with fever and fast breathing. Symptoms appear more slowly and tend to be less severe when pneumonia is caused by viruses.
Who Is At Risk
Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world but is more common in low- and middle-income countries where fewer people get pneumococcal vaccine. In more temperate climates, pneumococcal disease is more common during winter and early spring. In tropical climates with dry and rainy seasons, pneumococcal disease tends to occur more in the dry season.
Travelers are more likely to get pneumococcal disease if they spend time in crowded settings or in close contact with children in countries where pneumococcal vaccine is not routinely used.
How To Prevent Pneumonia
Some pneumonias are preventable. Vaccinations are available to prevent pneumonia caused by some viruses and bacteria. Also, living a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and regularly exercising can minimize the risk of contracting pneumonia. Routine exercise can increase lung health and resistance to infections.
A healthy lifestyle also includes refraining from smoking and drinking too much alcohol to help keep the immune system healthy. Getting plenty of rest and drinking water is yet another way to help prevent illnesses like pneumonia.
Practicing thorough hand washing can also reduce your exposure to germs that can cause pneumonia, especially during cold and flu season. If you cough or sneeze, do your best to do so into a disposable tissue or the elbow of your sleeve, followed by washing your hands. Be sure to disinfect frequently used surfaces such as telephones, countertops, and doorknobs to prevent the spread of germs that can cause pneumonia.
Lastly, if people in your community are sick, do your best to practice social distancing when possible. Reducing your exposure to bacteria and viruses while living a healthy and active lifestyle can play an essential role in maintaining wellness.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
- Breathing symptoms that get worse
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
- Fast or painful breathing
- Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
- Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
- Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement
Bacterial Vs Viral Pneumonia Symptoms
Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. Fungi and parasites can sometimes cause it.
When the cause is bacteria, the illness can come on either slowly or quickly. It tends to be more serious than other types.
When a virus causes your pneumonia, youâre more likely to notice symptoms over several days. Early signs will look like the flu — such as fever, dry cough, headache, and weakness — but get worse in a day or two.
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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
What Is The Incubation Period For Pneumonia
The incubation period for pneumonia depends on the type of pathogen causing the disease, the person’s age, and his or her overall health. In general, most pneumonias begin with symptoms similar to those of a cold or the flu that last longer than the flu and become more severe. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia include
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How To Tell If You Have Walking Pneumonia
February 5, 2019 By Caitlin Hartwyk
Were all familiar with the sense of dread that comes when you realize youre getting a case of the winter sniffles often cold or flu. Although, its thought that over two million Americans actually deal with walking pneumonia each year, and many may not even realize it.
What is Walking Pneumonia?
If youve never heard of walking pneumonia, youre not alone. The disease goes unheard of for many, despite affecting 2 million people in the United States every year.
Walking, or atypical, pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a different bacteria than the regular disease. The CDC states it, might have slightly different symptoms, appear different on a chest X-ray, or respond to different antibiotics than the typical bacteria that cause pneumonia.
For example, antibiotics are required and routinely prescribed to treat pneumonia. But, the M. pneumoniae bacteria is resistant to the same medicine. Beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin cannot be used to treat M. pneumoniae. This is part of the growing, worrying trend of AMR, or antimicrobial resistance.
Even when it comes to atypical pneumonia, there are several different types. Atypical pneumonia could come in the form of Mycoplasma pneumonia, Legionnaires disease, Chlamydophila pneumonia and psittacosis. Mycoplasma pneumonia is by far the most common variety of walking pneumonia.
How Do I Know if I Have Walking Pneumonia?
Who is Most Often Affected by Atypical Pneumonia?
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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Is Bacterial Pneumonia Contagious
Whether or not bacterial pneumonia is contagious depends upon the type of bacteria causing the infection. In many cases, people contract pneumonia when bacteria they normally carry in the nose or throat are spread to the lungs. Most kinds of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious. However, pneumonia due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae and tuberculosis are exceptions. Both these types of bacterial pneumonia are highly contagious. These are spread among people by breathing in infected droplets that come from coughing or sneezing, similar to the spread of viral infections.
How Is Pneumonia Treated In A Child
Treatment may include antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia. No good treatment is available for most viral pneumonias. They often get better on their own. Flu-related pneumonia may be treated with an antiviral medicine.
Other treatments can ease symptoms. They may include:
Plenty of rest
Cool mist humidifier in your childs room
Acetaminophen for fever and discomfort
Medicine for cough
Some children may be treated in the hospital if they are having severe breathing problems. While in the hospital, treatment may include:
Antibiotics by IV or by mouth for bacterial infection
IV fluids if your child is unable to drink well
Frequent suctioning of your childs nose and mouth to help get rid of thick mucus
Breathing treatments, as ordered by your childs healthcare provider
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Cough And Cold Medicines
Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.
Always check to see if any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines you are taking contain acetaminophen. If they do, make sure the acetaminophen you are taking in your cold medicine plus any other acetaminophen you may be taking is not higher than the daily recommended dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much you can take every day.
Pneumonia Vs Cold And Flu Symptoms
Itâs tricky, because pneumonia can be a complication of colds and flu. This happens when the germs that cause those common illnesses get into your lungs. You might be feeling better, but then you start getting symptoms again — and this time, they can be a lot worse.
Cold symptoms tend to start slowly. Youâre more likely to sneeze and have a runny nose and sore throat than with either the flu or pneumonia. Colds donât usually cause a fever in adults.
The top clue that you have the flu is that the symptoms come on strong, seemingly out of nowhere. You may have:
- Fever above 100.4 F
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When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For Bacterial Pneumonia
When to call the doctor
- If you have a fever and cough up yellow, green, or brown sputum, make an appointment with your doctor.
- If you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or confusion, you should seek emergency care.
- If you are healthy, you can safely make an appointment to see your doctor. It is best to contact your physician if you have concerns about possible pneumonia.
When to go to the hospital
- If you have shortness of breath, you should always seek emergency care. Shortness of breath is not simply the feeling that you can’t take a full breath shortness of breath means that you cannot take in enough air to meet your body’s needs. It is a potentially serious symptom and always requires a visit to an emergency department, no matter how healthy you are.
- If you have chest pain or confusion, you should seek emergency care.
- You are at higher risk of developing pneumonia if you have the following:
- a chronic health problem, such as diabetes
- a poor immune system because of HIV, AIDS, steroid use, or immune-suppressant medications
- diseased or damaged lungs, such as with asthma or emphysema
- are very young or very old
- or you have had your spleen removed.
How Do The Lungs Work
Your lungs main job is to get oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. This happens during breathing. You breathe 12 to 20 times per minute when you are not sick. When you breathe in, air travels down the back of your throat and passes through your voice box and into your windpipe . Your trachea splits into two air passages . One bronchial tube leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung. For the lungs to perform their best, the airways need to be open as you breathe in and out. Swelling and mucus can make it harder to move air through the airways, making it harder to breathe. This leads to shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than normal.
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How Long Is Pneumonia Contagious
The average time an individual is contagious from pneumonia is approximately 10 days. However, some cases of pneumonia can be contagious for several weeks, depending on the form of pneumonia and the type of medical treatment recommended.
Antibiotics can significantly decrease the contagiousness of bacterial pneumonias. After starting antibiotics, an individual is still contagious for another 24 to 48 hours. Once the fever associated with the illness is gone, the pneumonia is less likely to be contagious. Coughing can continue for several weeks due to lingering inflammation, even after effective treatment.
Home remedies such as the use of honey to relieve coughing and zinc to boost the immune system, especially during a case of viral pneumonia, can be helpful tools, according to Kate Tulenko, MD, the founder and CEO of Corvus Health.
Getting medical treatment can reduce the duration of illness and the risk of spreading it to other people. If your fever returns or if lingering symptoms fail to go away, ask a healthcare provider for advice.
When Should I See My Doctor
Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.
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What Health Complications Can Pneumonia Lead To
If you have flu-like symptoms that persist or worsen despite treatment, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor can monitor your lungs while you inhale, listening for crackling sounds that are audible only with a stethoscope.
In order to confirm the diagnosis and identify the specific germ causing the illness, you may get a chest X-ray as well as a blood test, depending on your medical history and physical exam, if your doctor suspects that you have pneumonia.
If left untreated, pneumonia can become severe.
People with severe pneumonia experience higher fevers along with GI symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as:
- Difficulty breathing
Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
When to call a doctor
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What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
How Do You Treat Pneumonia
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.
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Pneumonia Can Be Fatal
When you acquire pneumonia, it could affect only one lung, both lungs, or spread from one to the other. It causes the air sacs in your lungs, also called alveoli, to become inflamed. This is what makes it difficult to breathe. Doctors typically treat pneumonia with antibiotics, but it remains the leading cause of infectious disease death in children under age five across the world. As with the flu, pneumonia can also be deadly for elderly people.
Smokers and those with asthma have a greater likelihood of catching all different strains of the disease. However, bacterial infection is the most common cause among adults in the United States.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Viral Pneumonia
Signs and symptoms may develop slowly over several days. Your signs and symptoms may be different if you are older than 65 years. You may be confused or have aches and pains instead of the following more typical symptoms:
- Cough, which may or may not bring up mucus
- Fever above 100.4°F or chills
- Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, or wheezing
- Muscle pain and tiredness
- Chest pain when you cough or breathe deeply
- Nausea and vomiting
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