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Pneumonia – Symptoms and Prevention

Pneumonia – Symptoms and Prevention

According to the latest UNICEF report, India ranks second among world countries in the death of children due to Pneumonia. Nigeria tops in the list with 1.6 lakhs death while India is having a shocking rate of 1.27 lakhs child death. One child dies every 39 seconds. This is an alarming situation and we need to take the necessary steps to safeguard our children from this deadly disease.

    Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus, leading to coughing with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Children above 2 years of age are more prone to this infection.

The symptoms of Pneumonia can vary from mild to severe, depending on factors causing the infection, age, and overall health.

Common signs include : 

  • Very fast breathing
  • Breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  • Working hard to breathe
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Shaking chills
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Less activity
  • Loss of appetite (in older kids) or poor feeding (in infants)

In older kids and teens, pneumonia due to Mycoplasma is very common. It causes a sore throat, headache, and rash in addition to the usual symptoms. In babies, pneumonia due to chlamydia may cause conjunctivitis (pinkeye) with only mild illness and no fever.

 When pneumonia is due to whooping cough, a child may have long coughing spells, turn blue from lack of air, or make the classic “whoop” sound when trying to take a breath. Fortunately, the pertussis vaccine can help protect kids against whooping cough. 

Prevention of Pneumonia

  • Get Vaccinated 

Make sure children get vaccinated. Doctors recommend a different pneumonia vaccine for children younger than age 2 and for children ages 2 to 5 years who are at particular risk of pneumococcal disease. Children who attend a group child care center should also get the vaccine. Doctors also recommend flu shots for children older than 6 months.

  • Keep Hygiene 

If someone in your home has a respiratory infection or throat infection, keep their drinking glasses and utensils separate from those of other family members, and wash your hands often, especially if you’re handling used tissues or dirty handkerchiefs.
In general, pneumonia is not contagious, but the upper respiratory viruses and bacteria that lead to it are. The person can spread the illness through coughs and sneezes.

Children might need treatment in the hospital if pneumonia causes a lasting high fever, breathing problems, or persistent vomiting or have a chronic illness that affects the immune system. 

Remember the slogan:  Don’t hesitate–vaccinate and you’ll be grate.


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