Pneumonia is an infection of the lung. It can be caused due various infective organisms such as bacteria and viruses. It can also occur without any organisms, such as in case of aspiration pneumonia.
Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity, both in developing and developed countries. It is also the commonest cause of hospitalization in adults, children and small babies. As the immune system is not very well developed in babies, they are at a greater risk of contracting viral pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia.
The most frequent virus detected to cause pneumonia is respiratory syncytial virus.Beta streptococcus bacteria are responsible for bacterial pneumonia in babies.
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children
Pneumonia is generally first diagnosed by your pediatrician when the baby presents with systemic and respiratory tract symptoms. Many times the symptoms are sudden.
- Fever: rise of body temperature is common in both bacterial as well as viral pneumonia.
- Cough, frequent debilitating cough.
- Rapid breathing.
- Rapid pulse.
- Breathing difficulty.
- The baby finds it difficult to hold her head. It droops on the shoulder due to weakness.
- Baby stops feedings breast milk. Elder children refuse to eat.
- In certain severe cases of pneumonia the lips of the baby turns blue. Even the nails may turn blue. The condition is called cyanosis.
Treatment For Pneumonia In Kids
Treatment for pneumonia in babies depends on the age of the baby, and how severe the symptoms are.
- For pneumonia due to bacterial infection, pediatricians prescribe antibiotics.
- In viral pneumonia, antibiotics are not effective; however looking at the severity your doctor may start the antibiotics to prevent superadded bacterial infection.
- The child is encouraged to drink fluids as much as he can.
- Mother should not stop her breast feeding even if the child is suffering from pneumonia.
- In hospital the baby may have to be given medicines through the nebulizer, to relieve respiratory distress.
- In hospital the baby may be given fluids and antibiotics through intravenous route.
- The baby may be given oxygen to ease breathing.
Complications Of Pneumonia In Babies
Pneumonia complications in babies occur when the baby does not receive adequate treatment. This can include:
- Lung abscess: pus develops in the lung cavity. The cause may be due to delay in treatment or inadequate treatment.
- Infection spread to other lobes of the lung.
- Delayed resolution.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome: it results into sudden breathing difficulty, cyanosis, at times the condition can become fatal.
- Infection leading to generalized blood sepsis.
- Skin rash
- Diarrhea And vomiting
- Hemolytic anemia.
- Respiratory failure.
- Lung collapse.
- Blood in cough.