Pneumonia symptoms

Detecting symptoms of pneumonia in children and what to do

In this file photo, a mother holds a nebulizer for her child with pneumonia at Dinajpur General Hospital. Photo: star/file

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Pneumonia Bangladesh

In this file photo, a mother holds a nebulizer for her child with pneumonia at Dinajpur General Hospital. Photo: star/file

With the onset of winter, reports are coming in from across the country of an increase in cold-related illnesses among children. Among the most serious winter ailments is pneumonia.
But most parents often don’t know how to tell the difference between pneumonia and the common flu.
According to doctors, common flu has a very sudden onset while pneumonia takes much longer to develop and can be a complication resulting from flu.
Common flu is the result of viral infection while pneumonia is the result of bacterial infection or viral infection.
It’s hard to estimate when the flu or cold turns into pneumonia, but early detection is important to save lives. So what are the signs that can help us figure out that a child has pneumonia?
The Daily Star has contacted Professor Mohammod Shahidullah, Chairman of Bangladesh Shishu Hospital and Institute, for advice on the matter.
“Inflammation of the lungs, high fever, cough and difficulty breathing are symptoms of pneumonia,” says Professor Mohammod Shahidullah.
The three most important symptoms that anyone can identify are: cough, fever, and trouble breathing or chest indrawing. Chest indrawing is the inward movement of the lower chest wall when the child inhales and is a sign of respiratory distress.
“If your child shows these three signs, it is mandatory to seek medical attention without delay,” Shahidullah said.
The doctor can then decide whether to continue treating the child at home or suggest admission to a hospital depending on the severity, he said.
To prevent pneumonia in children, Shahidullah advised not to catch cold in the first place, to avoid dust, to stay away from other patients with pneumonia or colds, to take short showers with hot water and not to eat frozen or cold food.
“If parents or close family members catch a cold, they should handle the child with extra precautions, including wearing a mask and washing and sanitizing their hands frequently,” Dr Shahidullah added.
He also suggested taking vaccinations if the child has not yet been vaccinated.

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