Causes of Pneumonia in Children Under 5
As already mentioned, pneumonia in children under 5 is most commonly caused by bacterial or viral infection. Bacteria that cause bacterial pneumonia are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Group A streptococcus, Group B streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. Unlike viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia has a quick onset and causes chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, fatigue and loss of appetite. Viral pneumonia is typically caused by viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza virus, influenza virus, adenovirus and rhinovirus.
Symptoms of viral pneumonia are similar to symptoms of bacterial but the wheezing and cough are usually worse. Pneumonia in children under 5 may be also caused by inhalation of food, liquid or chemical. Increased risk of developing pneumonia have children exposed to nicotine smoke, malnourished children and children with asthma and certain genetic disorders.
Symptoms of Pneumonia in Children Under 5
There are many signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children under 5. They usually start to appear few days after a child has upper respiratory infection such as runny nose, congestion and sore throat. Most common indicators of pneumonia are high temperature and difficulty breathing. Other common symptoms of pneumonia include:Cough Chest pain Vomiting Flaring of the nostrils Shortness of breath Wheezing Abdominal pain Tiredness Loss of appetite Crackles Bluish or grey lips and fingernails
Treatment for Pneumonia in Children Under 5
Pneumonia in children under 5 can be diagnosed by physical examination, blood tests and chest x-ray. The treatment will vary depending on the child’s age, medical history, severity of the symptoms and the cause of pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is generally treated with antibiotics while viral pneumonia has no specific treatment. A child must drink plenty of fluids and rest. Acetaminophen is given to reduce the temperature and relieve the pain. In severe cases of pneumonia, children must be admitted to hospital where they receive IV antibiotics and oxygen therapy.
Prevention of Pneumonia in Children Under 5
Pneumonia can be prevented with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. It is also important to maintain good hygiene and feed a child with healthy balanced diet to improve its immune system.