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.
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.
Should I Give My Child Cough Medicine
While a cough is uncomfortable, its also useful. Coughing helps break down fluid and mucus in your childs lungs and remove them from the body. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises infants and children not to use cough suppressants containing codeine or dextromethorphan. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to keep your child as comfortable as possible without preventing their body from fighting off the infection.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Acute Pneumonia
The symptoms of pneumonia may be nonspecific, especially in infants and younger children. Acute onset of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, poor feeding or vomiting, and lack of interest in normal activities are common symptoms. Chest or abdominal pain may also be prominent features. Abrupt onset of rigors favours a bacterial cause. M pneumoniae is typically characterized by malaise and headache for seven to 10 days before the onset of fever and cough, which then predominate. During annual influenza season, influenza as a cause of pneumonia should be strongly considered. Influenza infections may be heralded by the sudden onset of systemic symptoms such as diffuse myalgias and fever, which are then followed by cough, sore throat or other respiratory symptoms.
Children typically experience fever and tachypnea . Indrawing, retractions and/or a tracheal tug indicate respiratory distress . Measurement of oxygen saturation with pulse oximetry is indicated in all patients presenting to a hospital or with significant illness because hypoxemia may not be clinically apparent and cyanosis is only associated with severe hypoxemia. However, a normal oxygen saturation does not exclude the possibility of pneumonia.
What Is The Treatment For Pneumonia
Your doctor will give antibiotics to your child if they have bacterial pneumonia. Doctors may use antibiotics when it is not clear whether your child’s pneumonia is viral or bacterial. If your child is young or sick enough to be in hospital, they will often have antibiotics .
They may also need support with their breathing and feeding. A small number of children who are extremely unwell with pneumonia need more intensive hospital treatment.
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How Do I Know If My Child Is Having Trouble Breathing
- Your child’s nostrils open wider when he or she breathes in.
- Your child’s skin between his or her ribs and around his or her neck pulls in with each breath.
- Your child is wheezing, which means you hear a high-pitched noise when he or she breathes out.
- Your child is breathing fast:
- More than 60 breaths in 1 minute for newborn babies up to 2 months old
- More than 50 breaths in 1 minute for a baby 2 months to 12 months old
- More than 40 breaths in 1 minute for a child older than 1 to 5 years
- More than 20 breaths in 1 minute for a child older than 5 years
Signs Your Child Might Have Pneumonia
Your child has been coughing, sneezing and running a temperature. Is this the common cold, or could it be something more serious like pneumonia?
On the surface, symptoms can be similar. But Dr. Jonathan Auth, a CHOC pediatrician, says parents can look for five key signs that indicate their child may have developed bacterial pneumonia, an infection of the lungs:
How To Prevent Pneumonia In Your Baby
You may not be able to completely rule out the possibility of your baby getting pneumonia, but there are plenty of things you can do to lower the risk.
Here are some ideas for how you can help prevent your baby from getting pneumonia:
Sickness is one of those challenges that you’re bound to face from time to time as a parent, but of course it’s still natural to worry about what to do if your child gets a condition like pneumonia.
With any luck, knowing a bit more about this condition and how effectively it can be treated will put your mind at ease, and help you to recognize the warning signs so that your little one receives the best possible treatment as soon as possible.
In most cases, it won’t be long before your baby’s back to his usual self and you’ll be able to get on with enjoying the adventure that is parenthood.
And part of the parenting adventure, of course, is changing diapers. You’ll want to choose a well-fitting diaper to keep your baby comfy and to prevent leakages and blowouts.
Our Diaper Size and Weight Chart will help you find the snuggest fitting diaper for your newborn, baby, or toddler. Those diapers could also be earning you gifts, coupons, and cash back. Download the Pampers Club app to get started.
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Preventing Pneumonia In Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinating children with the PVC13 vaccine. It helps prevent pneumonia from developing in children 2 years old and younger. The â13â in the PVC13 vaccine means it defends children against 13 variations of the pneumococcal disease. You should discuss the vaccine option with your childâs healthcare provider. Itâs also a good idea to verify that your child is up-to-date on all other recommended vaccines for their age group.
Children can start receiving doses of the PVC13 vaccine when they are two months old. After that, they should receive booster shots periodically until they turn 15 months old. It only takes one dose of PVC13 to immunize children between the ages of 2 and 5 who have not previously received the vaccine. The same goes for children aged 2 to 18 who have certain medical conditions and have never gotten a PVC13 vaccination.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide pneumonia vaccine is also recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 5 who have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, including those who have:
- Heart disease
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What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Pediatric pneumonia is often undertreated or missed, leading to high morbidity and mortality. The condition is best managed by an interprofessional team to improve outcomes. The majority of patients are managed by the pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or primary care provider. Patient and caregiver education is vital. Parents need to be told to avoid smoking, and the importance of handwashing cannot be overstated. In addition, all clinicians looking after children should emphasize vaccination against pneumococcus and influenza.
Healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, ideally work together in close environments for optimum patient care. When caring for children with pneumonia, pharmacists can be of significant help with geographic resistance patterns for better treatment outcomes with selected antibiotic choices.
Caregivers should be educated about signs of respiratory difficulty and when to seek medical assistance. Only through a team approach can pneumonia in children be treated promptly with minimal morbidity.
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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
Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The symptoms of pneumonia in kids may include any combination of the following:
- Blue tint around lips or fingernails
While the symptoms of viral and bacterial pneumonia are similar, breathing problems may develop more slowly with viral pneumonia. Children with viral pneumonia may also be at a greater risk of developing bacterial pneumonia as well.
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Guidelines For Referral To Hospital Or Hospital Admission
Most children with pneumonia can be managed as outpatients. Specific paediatric criteria for admission are not available. Hospitalization is generally indicated if a child has inadequate oral intake, is intolerant of oral therapy, has severe illness or respiratory compromise , or if the pneumonia is complicated. There should be a lower threshold for admitting infants younger than six months of age to hospital because they may need more supportive care and monitoring, and it can be difficult to recognize subtle deterioration clinically.
How Can I Help Prevent Pneumonia In My Child
Pneumococcal pneumonia can be prevented with a vaccine that protects against 13 types of pneumococcal pneumonia. Doctors recommend that children get a series of shots beginning at age 2 months. Talk with your childs healthcare provider about this vaccine. Another vaccine is available for children older than 2 years who are at increased risk for pneumonia. Talk with your child’s healthcare to see if it is recommended for your child. Also make sure your child is up-to-date on all vaccines, including the yearly flu shot. Pneumonia can occur after illnesses such as whooping cough and the flu.
You can also help your child prevent pneumonia with good hygiene. Teach your child to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Your child should also wash their hands often. These measures can help prevent other infections, too.
Your child can be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia. There are 2 types of vaccines that can help prevent pneumococcal disease. The vaccine that is right for your child depends on their age and risk factors. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about which vaccine is best for your child and when they should get it.
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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
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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What Are The Different Types Of Pneumonia
The main types of pneumonia are:
Bacterial pneumonia. This is caused by various bacteria. The streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common bacterium that causes bacterial pneumonia.Many other bacteria may cause bacterial pneumonia including:
Group B streptococcus
Bacterial pneumonia may have a quick onset and the following symptoms may occur:
Viral pneumonia. This is caused by various viruses, including the following:
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV
Early symptoms of viral pneumonia are the same as those of bacterial pneumonia. However, with viral pneumonia, the respiratory involvement happens slowly. Wheezing may occur and the cough may worsen.
Viral pneumonias may make a child susceptible to bacterial pneumonia.
Mycoplasma pneumonia. This presents somewhat different symptoms and physical signs than other types of pneumonia. They generally cause a mild, widespread pneumonia that affects all age groups but more commonly in older children.
Symptoms usually do not start with a cold, and may include the following:
Fever and cough are the first to develop
Cough that is persistent and may last three to four weeks
A severe cough that may produce some mucus
Other less common pneumonias may be caused by the inhaling of food, liquid, gases or dust, or by fungi.
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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Previous Adverse Events With Penicillin Or Other Antibiotic Therapy
If a patient experienced a nonurticarial rash after previous use of a penicillin or amoxicillin, they can safely be started on ampicillin or amoxicillin therapy.
It is now recognized that the cross-reactivity rate between penicillins and second- or third-generation cephalosporins is extremely low. Therefore, cefuroxime, cefprozil or ceftriaxone can be prescribed for penicillin-allergic patients. However, if the reaction to a penicillin included rapid onset of urticaria, angioedema, hypotension or bronchospasm following the dose of penicillin, the patient should be observed for 30 min following the first dose of cephalosporin in a setting where epinephrine is available. Clarithromycin or azithromycin may also be used, but pneumococcal resistance to these antimicrobials is increasingly common and careful follow-up must be ensured. Although rare, a history of a serious nonimmunoglobulin E-mediated reactions attributed to an antibiotic is also a contraindication to using related antibiotics. In such cases, a different class of drug should be selected.
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
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