Pneumonia is surprisingly common in children. Around 156 million cases of pneumonia are documented each year in children under the age of five worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Unlike simple congestion caused by the common cold or the flu, pneumonia is a direct inflammation of the lungs. It occurs when pus or mucus fill the lungs. And fluid-filled lungs can be life threatening, although modern medicine has greatly reduced that risk. But for the risk to be reduced, the subtle symptoms of pneumonia must be recognized, because if left untreated the disease can still be very dangerous.
“In developed countries, the incidence is 33 cases of pneumonia per 10,000 children under the age of five,” warns Katie Mysen, DNP, family nurse practitioner at MobiCare, LLC and assistant professor at Oakland University. “Pneumonia can happen any time of the year, but it’s more common in the colder months as children spend more time in enclosed spaces with other people. ”
This is the same reason that children are afflicted with more cold and flu in winter – and part of why pneumonia is so difficult for parents to identify. At first it may look like a chest cold.
“Symptoms of pneumonia in infants and young children can be subtle and can include a combination of fever and cough. Before a cough, children may breathe faster or have difficulty breathing, ”says Mysen. “The longer the cough, fever and respiratory problems are present, the more likely the child is to have pneumonia. Infants may have difficulty feeding, restlessness or restlessness rather than a cough.
Breathing difficulties are usually characterized by noisy breathing with wheezing or growling, forced breathing with a lot of chest and stomach movement, enlarged nostrils, or very rapid breathing. Breathing difficulties can also be present in a number of serious illnesses that need a trip to the doctor – parents must therefore learn to recognize it.
In infants, breathing difficulties are more noticeable during feeding. Restricting the airways obviously makes it difficult to breathe. So when the bodily mechanisms of milk or formula consumption compete with inefficient breathing, breathing is will always win. So babies who have trouble breathing may eat less, spit or show discomfort. But babies aren’t the only children particularly vulnerable to pneumonia.
Recognize the symptoms of pneumonia
- Pneumonia is surprisingly common: 155 million cases worldwide in children under five. The numbers are better in developed countries like the United States, but still represent thousands of patients each year.
- it’s always dangerous: Pneumonia directly affects the lungs, causing them to fill with fluid. Medical developments have made pneumonia easier to treat, but if left untreated it can be fatal.
- It’s hard to spot: Pneumonia may look like a cold or the flu at first, with a cough and fever – but it doesn’t seem to get better.
- It makes breathing difficult: Children with pneumonia try to breathe, and this tension is noticeable. Infants my turn to feed in their struggle to breathe.
- You need a doctor: Labored and difficult breathing should be treated by a doctor. Let the pediatrician determine if a child needs treatment at home.
“Children with heart or respiratory problems are more susceptible to pneumonia,” Mysen warns. “These conditions include diseases like congenital heart disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and immunodeficiency disorders. Exposure to smoking also increases the risk of pneumonia in children.
It can affect a lot of children – Premature babies Who otherwise prosper are often plagued by lung problems, and more 6 million children in the United States suffer from asthma. Fortunately, parents can exercise basic precautions at home and apart from that to help their children avoid infection. This includes basic steps like getting a flu shot, washing your hands, and covering up coughs and sneezes. It is important to note that older children should exercise the same precautions.
If parents are worried about how their child is breathing, they should see a doctor. If their baby is unresponsive or lethargic, they should see a doctor. If the child has been ill and does not seem to improve noticeably, he or she should see a doctor. It is not a waiting situation.
“Any child who has a fever and cough should be evaluated by a health care provider,” advises Mysen. “About half of children diagnosed with pneumonia require hospitalization. Some cases of pneumonia are viral and may not require antibiotics, but it is important that the child’s breathing is assessed by a health care provider to ensure that the child can be treated safely at the same time. the House.