Medical Attention For Children With Pneumonia
Children who have been recently hospitalized, use antibiotics frequently, have asthma or another chronic illness, or haven’t been fully vaccinated against certain illnesses rubeola , chickenpox, pertussis , Haemophilus influenzae type B infections, or the seasonal flu are at greater risk for developing pneumonia.
A child who hasn’t been vaccinated with Prevnar 13 is also more likely to get pneumonia.
The only way to know for sure if a child has pneumonia is to see a doctor. A pediatrician or family medicine doctor can check for fluid in your child’s lungs using a stethoscope or X-rays.
Two key signs that a child requires immediate medical attention are:
- Flaring of the nostrils while breathing
- Using the muscles below and between the ribs and above the collarbone to aid in breathing
Young children with pneumonia will breathe fast. Doctors say you can see their belly muscles working hard to help them breathe. If your child is breathing fast, it’s best to take them to the emergency room.
Additional reporting by George Vernadakis
Pneumonia Symptoms In Children
Pneumonia symptoms usually begin like a cold with a runny nose and coughing. Symptoms then get worse and may include a high fever, abdominal pain and difficulty breathing.
Contact your childs pediatrician if your child has any of the following symptoms:
Get medical help immediately if your child has any of the following:
- Blue or gray color to the lips or fingernails
- Trouble breathing or breathing too fast
What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Anyone can experience complications from pneumonia. However, people in high-risk groups are more likely to develop complications, including:
- Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can make breathing difficult. Pneumonia plus an existing lung disorder can make breathing even more difficult. Breathing difficulties may require a hospital stay to receive oxygen therapy or breathing and healing assistance with the use of a breathing machine .
- Fluid buildup in the lungs : Pneumonia can cause a buildup in the fluid between the membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. It is a serious condition that makes breathing difficult. Pleural effusion can be treated by draining excess fluid with a catheter, chest tube or by surgery.
- Bacteria in the bloodstream : The bacteria that cause pneumonia can leave your lungs and enter your bloodstream, spreading the infection to other organs. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
- Lung abscess. A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the lung that is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated by draining the pus with a long needle or removing it by surgery.
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What Is Pediatric Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammation in one or both of the lungs that is almost always caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The inflammation interferes with the bodyâs ability to deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. A person is more likely to get pneumonia as a child, known as pediatric pneumonia, than they are as an adult.
Symptoms of pediatric pneumonia depend on the cause of the infection and several other factors, including the age and general health of the child. Rapid breathing, a high temperature and coughing are three of the most common signs of the condition.
Pneumonia in newborns and very young children is more likely to be caused by a viral, rather than a bacterial infection. Potential viral causes for pneumonia include respiratory syncytial virus or influenza infection. Bacterial infections become more common in school-aged children and young adolescents. The most common bacterial cause for pneumonia is a type of bacterium known as streptococcus pneumoniae, but there are several other bacterial infections that can also cause pneumonia.
Diagnosis is generally based on a physical exam and several other tests, which may include blood tests and an X-ray.
Vaccination against bacterial infection is the best way of preventing the spread of pediatric pneumonia. Children aged over six months old may also benefit from the influenza vaccine.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The signs and symptoms depend on your child’s age and the cause of his or her pneumonia. Signs and symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin more quickly than signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia. Your child may have any of the following:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Chest pain when your child coughs or breathes deeply
- Abdominal pain near your child’s ribs
- Poor appetite
- Crying more than usual, or more irritable or fussy than normal
- Pale or bluish lips, fingernails, or toenails
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Types Of Pneumonia In Children
Based on the symptoms a child may have, we can tell what caused pneumonia. Pneumonia in a child that has been caused by some bacteria is characterized in that the child falls ill very quickly and the symptoms of this type of pneumonia are a very high and sudden fever and rapid breathing that appears unusually.
Pneumonia that has been caused by a virus is distinguished from the previous one because the child will gradually have the symptoms that we have explained and are usually less severe. The common symptom that children with pneumonia have is wheezing.
There is also another type of pneumonia that is caused by mycoplasma and is often known as atypical pneumonia. This typically occurs more in older children and the symptoms to recognize is sore throat and headache.
Lastly, babies and newborns can get pneumonia caused by chlamydia. In this case, the symptoms are usually the following:
A Parents Guide To Antibiotics
When a child gets sick, parents may be surprised if the pediatrician isnt quick to pull out the prescription pad for an antibiotic.
Most seasonal illnesses like respiratory infections, the flu and the common cold are actually viral infections, for which antibiotics have no effect. In many cases, your childs doctor will recommend treating the symptoms until the infection runs its course.
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Remarkable Care For Kids
- Continuum of care: Pediatricians and other specialists including pediatric infectious disease specialists and pediatric pulmonologists at Rush will work closely with you, your child and each other to expertly diagnose, treat and monitor your childs pneumonia.
- Preventive vaccinations: Pediatricians at Rush offer routine vaccinations that can help prevent pneumonia in children.
- A kid-friendly inpatient experience: If your child needs to be hospitalized for pneumonia, Child Life Services specialists at Rush University Childrens Hospital help your child cope with the physical, social and emotional challenges of hospitalization.
- Family-centered care: The heart of Rush University Childrens Hospital is family-centered care, which means you will be involved in every care decision for your child. We believe childrens families are integral members of the care team.
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.
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Discharge Instructions For Pneumonia Home Treatment
Upon discharge from the hospital, here are some of the instructions that you should follow for the pneumonia home treatment for your baby or child.
Treatment Of Bacterial Pneumonia And Viral Pneumonia
Only bacterial pneumonia is treatable by antibiotics .
Viral pneumonia does not respond to antibiotics, but certain cases caused by the Influenza virus may respond to an anti-viral medication called Tamiflu .
As it is difficult to distinguish bacterial from viral pneumonia in all cases, antibiotics are usually prescribed.
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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 .
Should You Consult A Paediatrician
Consult your paediatrician if your baby or child has the following symptoms.
- Your child is breathless.
- The fever is persistent beyond 2 to 3 days from start of antibiotics.
- Your child is lethargic.
- There is poor feeding.
- Your child is not retaining the oral antibiotics due to vomiting. In which case, he/she may need to be admitted to hospital for injection antibiotics, or a change of antibiotics by your doctor.
- Your child complains of chest pain.
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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.
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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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
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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How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children
15 September, 2021
Pneumonia in children is a common disease that occurs mainly in children under 5 years of age. In fact, according to data from the World Health Organization, this disease is responsible for 15% of child deaths. Also, according to estimates, 14% of children suffering from the disease require hospitalization.
The best way to avoid the disease is through prevention. Studies have determined that vaccination againstHaemophilus influenzae type B significantly reduces pneumonia in children. Likewise, vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae has proven to be effective in the most severe cases.
Furthermore, other important measures to prevent pneumonia in children are breastfeeding, avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke, keeping the house ventilated, frequent hand washing, and delaying entry to daycare if the child has a history of respiratory disease.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.