What You Need to Know About Pneumonia in Children

What You Need to Know About Pneumonia in Children

Last update: 22 September, 2017

Pneumonia is a terrible disease, it is considered the leading cause of death by infection in children. When it comes to pneumonia in children, the illness is considered especially dangerous for under-5-year-olds.

World Pneumonia Day was created in 2009 and takes place on November 12th every year. This celebration aims to bring public awareness to the effects of this disease. There are effective prevention methods for pneumonia, which is a curable disease.

Millions of children die yearly from this disease. However with the required attention this figures can be reduced, especially in children. The effort that was put in between 2000 and 2015 achieved very good results in the treatment of pneumonia.

How does pneumonia develop in children

Sick boy with tissue

Pneumonia is an infectious disease that affects the respiratory tract. It can affect both adults and children. However, it is children under 5 years old and the elderly that are most vulnerable. In the case of patients living in rural areas and with lower incomes, the vulnerability increases.

Specialists indicate that in order to receive the best prognosis from pneumonia it’s important to pay attention to various aspects. We already know that early diagnosis is the best tool to treat any disease. Lack of early diagnosis is the reason that certain sectors of the population are more affected.

In order to treat cases of pneumonia, rigorous treatment with a base of antibiotics is required. However, pneumonia  can be prevented easily by getting the appropriate vaccination.

Pneumonia can be caused by viruses. This is why any child can be affected regardless of location. It affects the respiratory tract in the lower part of the lungs. This means it profoundly affects the system. Due to this it is a very complex disease. In some cases the disease can be caused by bacteria.

Symptoms of pneumonia

boy with a thermometer and teddy bear

Cases of pneumonia can have different symptomatology, meaning that symptoms can vary from child to child. This affectation frequently occurs after a child has just gotten over the common cold. This is why sometimes the symptoms are confused with those of a cold. The most common symptoms of pneumonia in children are the following:

  • Cough
  • High and persistent fever
  • Respiratory difficultly, agitated breathing
  • Tiredness, general discomfort
  • Abdominal pain
  • Whistling in the lungs
  • Throat irritation
  • Nausea, vomit
  • Lack of apetite

What to do in case of pneumonia

When a case is suspected of pneumonia, the most important thing to do is to see  a specialist. Your doctor will recommend a thorax x-ray. This study will show the possible infection that is present in the lungs. A blood test will later be done to confirm the diagnosis.

In most cases, antibiotics are only prescribed when the cause of pneumonia is bacterial. However it’s difficult to differentiate whether the cause is viral or bacterial. When dealing with children, the pediatrician should consider various factores before carrying out a treatment method.

The organizations in charge of increasing pneumonia awareness confirm that prevention is the most important step. Hand washing, breastfeeding and vaccines are the mains methods of prevention. It is also important to make readily available the correct doses of antibiotics and other medicines that are needed in the treatment of this disease.

In order to reduce the incidences of pneumonia on a large scale, experts believe that the administration of the pneumococcal vaccine is the main measure. It is also necessary to evaluate the quality of water and make plans for its improvement in the case that it is needed.

Reducing contamination and better hygiene in public places are also necessary. These factors are fundamental when it comes to preventing pneumonia and other diseases. However it’s also important to note that prevention starts at home.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.