Pneumonia refers to the infection of the lungs which is very dangerous for children, but prompt medical intervention can help the morbidity and mortality rate associated with the disease. The different viruses causing pneumonia include influenza virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and respiratory syncytial virus. Bacterial infections can also cause pneumonia. It can be spread from one person to another through coughing or direct contact with the person’s infected saliva or mucus. As contrary to the popular belief that pneumonia can be caused by improper clothing or air temperature, it is more common during fall, winter, and early spring when children spend more time indoors in close contact with other people.
When it comes to the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, they include fever, coughing, fast and labored breathing, sweating, chills, wheezing, widening of the nostrils, and bluish tint of the lips or nails. Chest x-ray is needed to determine the extent of lung infection. Coughing is necessary so your child can clear his lungs for excessive secretions so avoid giving your child over-the-counter cough suppressants such as dextromethorpan or codeine, and viral infection does not need any specific treatment other than fever control and rest. Your pediatrician will prescribe antibiotics that should be taken for the full prescribed course and the right dosage. It is important to have your child checked by a pediatrician as soon as you are suspecting pneumonia.
You have to check back with the pediatrician if your child shows any of these warning signs: fever lasting for more than a few days despite antibiotics intake, breathing difficulties, and evidence of other body part infection (swollen joints, neck stiffness, bone pain, and vomiting). As the popular saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is better an ounce of cure.”, so have your child vaccinated against pneumococcal infections. The administration of pneumococcal conjugate or PCV13 is usually at four, six, and twelve to fifteen months. From 24 to 29 months of age, children who are at a high risk of developing an invasive pneumococcal infection such as those children with sickle cell anemia, heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure, organ transplant, or HIV, must be vaccinated with pneumococcal polysaccharide or PPV23.
Learn more about pediatric health by checking the website of the Pediatric Center, and get to know the best pediatricians in New Jersey today. Come and check their other details here. Children are precious gifts and we need to take good care of them, most especially their health, so if you suspect pneumonia, contact a pediatrician right away. The Pediatric Center is willing to help you out.