Pneumonia in Kids: What Parents Need to Know
Pneumonia is a serious illness in which one or both lungs become red and swollen and filled with liquid. Children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed and thus pneumonia in kids is more common. It is imperative for every parent to recognize symptoms of pneumonia because according to WHO, this illness claims a child life in every 20 seconds as well as accounts for 16% death causes of children under 5 years of age.
Despite the fact that 99% of death causes by pneumonia mainly occurs in low and middle income countries, it’s still imperative for parents to recognize all the symptoms that may show up in their children. Adults who experience pneumonia may have cough but pneumonia in kids doesn’t necessarily show this sign. They may, however, show signs of infection.
Age and immune status affect the pneumonia symptoms that may occur. Mild pneumonia in children usually shows milder symptoms in children and adults and it’s caused by bacteria like chlamydophilapneumoniaeand mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is also known as atypical or walking pneumonia and it is prevalent among children. Even though they may not feel ill enough that requires them to stay home, they may show the following signs:
- Low grade fever
- Dry cough
The bacteria that causes walking pneumonia often develops in late summer and fall and it is spread from one person to another. Outbreaks most likely to occur in groups that have close contact like camps and schools. Mycoplasma pneumoniaebacteria casue symptoms such as fatigue, headache, fever, skin rash, sore throat as well as ear infections. Luckily, this type of bacteria can be defeated by antibiotics.
Children between the age of 4 and 5 most likely get pneumonia caused by viruses. Symptoms that may show include:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Low grade fever
- Tiredness and lack of energy
In most cases, this type of pneumonia develops more abruptly than virus or a cold. Symptoms associated with severe pneumonia are also more dramatic like sweating, high fever, flushed skin, wheezing, blush tint to the lips or nail beds and difficulty breathing.
Newborns and infants can also experience pneumonia and they may not show typical symptoms that usually show in older children. Moreover, it may be a little difficult to tell whether a toddler has pneumonia or not for they can’t talk yet and thus unable to say how they feel. You can look for the following symptoms in your toddler though:
- Being limp and lethargic
- Looking pale
- Feeding poorly
- Crying more than usual
- Restless and irritable
Below are two of the key signs to tell whether your kid needs immediate medical attention or not:
- Using the muscles below and between the ribs as well as above the collarbone to help breathing
- Flaring nostrils when breathing
Children that experience pneumonia usually breathe fast and their belly muscle work hard to aid in breathing.
By paying close attention to early symptoms of pneumonia in kids, parents can save their children from deadly consequences and save themselves from having to rush them to an emergency room.