Pneumonia in children

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs and more common in children younger than 5 years of age but can be seen at any age.

What are the causes of Pneumonia in children?

Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria (Steptococcus Pneumoniae being most common) or viruses (RSV, influenza, adenovirus being most common) or atypical bacteria (mycoplasma being most common).

What are the common symptoms of pneumonia in children?

The common symptoms of pneumonia in children are cough, fever and fast or hard breathing. Child in addition the child might loose appetite and become lethargic.

How does a child get a Pneumonia?

They are usually spread by direct contact with a person who is already infected with them.

How is Pneumonia diagnosed?

Pneumonia is usually diagnosed with a full health history and physical examination. Investigations like blood counts and chest x-ray might be required to confirm the diagnosis.

How is Pneumonia treated?

Most children can be managed at home, but some children can become sick with increasing breathing difficulty and require hospital admission. Treatment includes oral antibiotics, extra fluids and paracetamol. Sick children might need oxygen, intravenous fluids and intravenous antibiotics.

What are the causes of a Pneumonia which is not improving or comes back again and again?

The usual causes could be infections like tuberculosis or atypical bacteria. Other causes could be gastro-esophageal reflux disease, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, foreign body aspiration or congenital problems like a cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM) or sequestration. Some children can have underlying deficiency of immunity causing frequent pneumonia (called primary immunodeficiency)

What are the investigations needed in a child with a non improving pneumonia?

Some children might need further investigations to identify the cause of pneumonia. These investigations include sputum test, flexible bronchoscopy, CT scan of chest, investigations for Gastro-esophageal reflux, sweat chloride testing etc. Kids might need one or more of the mentioned investigations depending on a particular case.

Child with such conditions need proper evaluation by a pediatric pulmonologist or pediatric respiratory physician.

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