Most medical professionals have difficulties remembering specific patients with pneumonia. This is mainly because most children with pneumonia are also affected by other diseases.
I try to remember all the patients I’ve encountered, but I find it difficult when so many of them have similar symptoms. Many children get better under the medical care they receive, but the question still lingers: Why does pneumonia affect so many children?
It is infuriating to know that many children are still suffering from pneumonia because there is a vaccine for it. However, not all children have access to the vaccine.
The girl with a collapsed lung
During my clinical days, I remember meeting a young girl with an extreme condition. She was only two years old. When I met her she had developed a pneumothorax — a condition where air leaks into the chest cavity and causes the lung to collapse. Hers had collapsed too.
While this is rare for people who have pneumonia to develop a pneumothorax, this condition can have one of several causes. Due to her age, and based on her medical history, it was concluded that the child’s condition was caused by a severe case of pneumonia.
Pneumonia is painful. This disease makes it incredibly difficult to breathe. You could see how much the girl was struggling for air. First, her pneumonia was treated by giving her some antibiotics and oxygen.
Her infection cleared up quickly, but she still could not breathe well because of her collapsed lung.
A catheter needed to be inserted to relieve the air from the chest cavity. Once the air is out, then the lung can expand normally and breathing is regular again.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection. Usually, it is caused by a virus or bacteria. These germs make the air sacs in the lungs fill with phlegm or mucous which makes it hard to breathe and causes a child to cough.
Pneumonia is spread by infected persons who carry the germs in fluid droplets in their throats, noses, or mouths. The infected person coughs the germs into the air. Your child breathes in the germs or comes in direct contact with the infected person’s saliva.
Most often pneumonia occurs during the cold months when children spend most of their time indoors in close contact with others. Children under the age of two (2) are at the highest risk for pneumonia. However, everyone fully recovers with proper medical care.
Signs and symptoms
2. Fast, difficult breathing
3. Chest pains
4. Severe, shaking chills
6. Tiredness, weakness
7. Muscle aches
8. Loss of appetite
9. Nausea or vomiting
Things to at home to help your child
1. Ensure that your child drinks plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
2. Ensure your child gets enough rest.
3. Do not give over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines without a prescription from a doctor. The child needs to cough and bring up the phlegm. Coughing is the body’s way of clearing the infection from the lungs.
4. Do not expose your child to smoke or other irritants in the air.
Ways to prevent pneumonia
1. Vaccinate your child.
2. Teach children to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue or a sleeve of their shirt when sneezing. And also dispose of the tissue properly.
3. In addition, practice good hand washing.
4. Wash surfaces that are often touched (like toys, tables, and doorknobs) with soap and water, or clean them down with a disinfectant.
5. Keep the home smoke-free.
Nationwide childrens. Pneumonia. Available at https//https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/pneumonia
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