The onset of pneumonia is easily confused with a cold or flu. In most of these diseases, the body of the child copes with the disease itself or with the help of drugs, but with this acute respiratory infection, pathogenic microbes can enter the lungs.
This will cause inflammatory swelling of the bronchial mucosa and limit the normal flow of air into the alveoli: they subside, inflammation of the lung tissue begins.
Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria and, in rare cases, parasites. The most popular pathogen is pneumococcus.
Its main symptoms are fever above 38 ° C, chills and weakness, a lingering cough, but they usually accompany both the flu and the common cold and bronchitis. A number of other serious symptoms make it possible to suspect pneumonia: difficulty breathing, wheezing, clearly heard wheezing, loss of appetite, headache.
You may also notice that the child is breathing, expanding the nostrils, and the area of the ribs noticeably subsides on inhalation.
If the pneumonia is viral, the symptoms usually appear gradually, and the baby’s condition does not deteriorate immediately either. If the inflammation is caused by bacteria, the disease will develop very quickly and immediately be accompanied by high fever.
In any case, with the listed symptoms, it is better to consult a doctor as soon as possible: at least he can listen to the baby’s lungs with a stethoscope, and if you suspect you should immediately send you a chest x-ray to confirm or refute pneumonia.
Attention! If you notice that the child’s breathing is very difficult, his lips and nails are gray or blue, call for “emergency assistance”.
The results of the X-ray examination will help the doctor to accurately diagnose this diagnosis, and sometimes to find out whether the disease is of viral or bacterial origin. Healthy lungs in the picture look dark, as filled with air.
If there are light areas in the image of the lungs, this means that there are areas of inflammation there: they are denser than air.
Pneumonia in pictures looks different: the inflammation caused by bacteria is recognized by small bright areas in the lobes of the lungs. Pneumonia, which has a viral nature, looks like a thin filamentous inclusion in the structure of the lung.
The bronchopneumonia in the picture looks like small light patches covering both lungs, like splashes.
X-ray results are just one of the factors that help the doctor in choosing a treatment. It is also important how the baby feels: is there nausea, can he take medicine, or perhaps he needs additional oxygen.
No, unfortunately, this can happen at any time of the year. And the more often a child is sick, the higher the risk of meeting with pneumonia: acute respiratory viral infections, with which he was ill in the fall and winter, weaken the immune system and prevent him from fighting with infections.
If pneumonia recurs, you may need to consult a pulmonologist.
Yes, children from 6 months to 4 years of age are at risk, children who were born prematurely (their lungs did not have enough time to fully develop), as well as children who often encounter passive smoking. If the baby has asthma, he, too, is likely to carry respiratory infections harder than his peers, and therefore his risk of developing pneumonia is higher.
This type of pneumonia is caused by some germs that also cause pneumonia. Pneumonia caused by microbes, mycoplasmas, occurs in 10−15% of cases, the child can become infected with this infectious lesion of the upper respiratory tract by interacting with a coughing peer.
The disease is much easier, limited to weakness, prolonged cough and low temperature; often not only does not require strict bed rest, but is not detected. In the US, it is called walking pneumonia, that is, “carried on the feet.”
Some children are so well tolerated by a stronger immune system than others.
No, quite often, if the condition of the baby allows, and the disease is revealed at the very beginning, doctors do without hospitalization, which in itself causes quite a lot of stress. If pneumonia is diagnosed, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics (penicillin, macrolides, or cephalosporins). Most likely, antibiotics will be needed in any case – both with bacterial and viral inflammation, since this is not always the case at the onset of the disease, and there remains the risk that the viral form will become bacterial.
If the temperature persists after 36–48 hours and other symptoms worsen, another treatment regimen will be prescribed. You may need other medications, such as antihistamine or bronchodilator, expectorant drugs.
In addition to taking medication, it is important to ensure that the child complies with bed rest and drink plenty of fluids.
The risk of pneumonia can be reduced. First, do not neglect vaccines: although vaccination against pneumococcal infection is not included in the mandatory vaccination schedule, it significantly reduces the risk of becoming ill not only with pneumonia, but also with otitis media and meningitis.
Secondly, children more often suffer from pneumonia, whose immunity is weakened by regular “autumn-winter” colds and ARVI. The fewer opportunities for a baby to get sick this year, the stronger his body will be by the next dangerous season.
For the same reason, try to limit his contact with a large number of children, especially during the annual periods of influenza epidemics. Even if only two children in the kindergarten group came with a cough, this will be quite enough for many children to get sick – especially if the baby has recently recovered or has a mild runny nose.
And, of course, from early childhood, instill good habits in him: wash hands with soap before meals and after the street, do not drink from someone else’s cup, don’t use someone else’s handkerchief, don’t touch your eyes, mouth and nose.
Pneumo 23 (France). Against 23 pathogens of pneumonia.
You can do children from 2 years old, one vaccination is enough for 5 years.
Act-Hib (France). It protects against hemophilic infection, including bacterial meningitis and pneumonia.
You can do from 3 months to 5 years, 2 or 3 times depending on age; after 1 year – once.
Hiberix (Belgium). Prevention of hemophilic infection, including bacterial meningitis and pneumonia.
Make from 2 years; If a child is less than a year old, it will take 2 or 3 vaccinations, from 1 to 5 years old – one.
Prevenar (USA). It protects against diseases whose causative agent is pneumococcus: meningitis, pneumonia, bacteremia, acute average infection.
Up to 2 years will need revaccination, depending on the age of the child; from 2 to 5 years – 1 dose.