Children’s pneumonia: what is it, symptoms and treatment
The pneumonia in children is an infection that can be caused by bacteria or the virus that leads to the emergence of symptoms similar to those of the flu, but they are getting worse with the passage of the days, making the diagnosis difficult.
Children’s pneumonia is cured and on rare occasions it is contagious, and must be treated at home with rest, medication for fever, antibiotics and fluid intake, such as water and milk, for example.
signs and symptoms
The symptoms of pneumonia in children may appear after a few days of having had contact with the infectious agent responsible for the infection, which can be observed:
- Fever above 38º;
- Tos con phlegm;
- lack of appetite;
- Faster and shorter breathing, with opening of the nostrils;
- I struggle to breathe, producing a collapse of the ribs;
- Easy tiredness without playing games.
It is important that the child is evaluated by a pediatrician when signs and symptoms suggestive of pneumonia are identified, as in this way the treatment can be started after the diagnosis and complications such as respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, for example, can be started.
The diagnosis of pneumonia in children is carried out by the pediatrician through the evaluation of signs and symptoms presented by the child, and the respiratory frequency. Normally, the doctor requests the performance of X-rays of the chest to evaluate the degree of commitment of the lungs. In addition, microbiological tests can also be performed to identify the infectious agent related to pneumonia.
Childhood pneumonia is caused in the majority of cases by a virus and appears as a complication of the flu, which can be related to adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza and type A, B or C influenza, being in these cases called viral pneumonia.
In addition to virus infection, the child can develop bacterial pneumonia, which is caused by bacteria, which in most cases is related to Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus.
Types of pneumonia in children
The types of pneumonia are classified according to the cause. The type of microorganism involved is taken into account, the place where the child was infected and how the contagion occurred. The types of pneumonia are:
- Bacterial pneumonia: It is an infection caused by bacteria and the treatment is carried out with antibiotics. Learn more about the transmission and treatment of bacterial pneumonia.
- Viral pneumonia: It is caused by a virus and the treatment is more prolonged because there are no antiviral remedies for all the existing viruses;
- pneumonia aspirative: occurs after aspirating a liquid such as vomiting, and can be caused by both viruses and bacteria;
- Atypical pneumonia: it is caused by microorganisms other than those of common pneumonia such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae;
- Community or extra-hospital pneumonia: it is a serious lung infection that is taken outside the hospital or in the first 48 hours of hospitalization;
- Hospital or nosocomial pneumonia: When the neumonia develops, the individual is hospitalized or until 2 weeks after receiving the discharge.
A pneumonia is a contagious disease, but it is not common for children to transmit it to other individuals. The most common type of pneumonia in children is viral, which occurs as a result of a poorly cured flu.
How to treat pneumonia in children
The treatment for childhood pneumonia may vary according to the infectious agent responsible for the pneumonia, and the use of antivirals or antibiotics such as Amoxicillin or Azithromycin, for example, and the child’s weight may be indicated.
In addition, some precautions that help in the treatment of pneumonia in children include:
- Perform nebulizations according to the doctor’s indications;
- Maintain good food, especially with fruit;
- Maintain good hydration, providing enough milk and water;
- Keep rest and avoid public spaces such as la guardería or la escuela;
- Dress up for the baby to wake up to the season of the year;
- Avoid the air currents during and after the bath.
Hospitalization is reserved for the most serious cases in which physiotherapy is necessary for childhood pneumonia, oxygen or antibiotics are given intravenously.
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