Monday, October 3, 2022

Causes Of Pneumonia In Babies

Treating Pneumonia In Your Baby

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Itâs important to have pneumonia diagnosed by your doctor as soon as possible, because the different types of pneumonia need different forms of treatment.

In mild cases pneumonia can often be treated in your home, following your doctorâs advice. However, some babies may need to be treated at the hospital.

Bacterial pneumonia often needs to be treated with antibiotics, while viral pneumonia will often clear up by itself without any treatment .

Because itâs not always easy for your doctor to tell whatâs causing your babyâs pneumonia, in some cases an antibiotic may be recommended just to be on the safe side. Whether this is needed depends on many factors, including the age of your baby or toddler and how the infection may have developed.

Always follow your doctorâs advice when giving your baby antibiotics or any other medicine. Itâs important to always finish the course of antibiotics â even if your child seems to get better before theyâre all used up â unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Go back to your doctor if the symptoms donât start to get better within three days of starting treatment with antibiotics.

Experts advise against giving a cough suppressant to your baby if he or she has pneumonia. Coughing may not be much fun for your baby, but itâs important for clearing your babyâs lungs. There is also little evidence that medicines of this kind are effective.

What Are The Types Of Pneumonia Found In Babies

Pneumonia is usually caused by a virus or bacteria, or in much rarer cases by fungi or parasites.

Sometimes a combination of different germs can be at play. For example, your baby’s immune system might be weakened by a virus, which makes it easier for a bacterial infection to take hold.

The two most common types of pneumonia in babies are:

Will My Child Need To Go To Hospital

Your doctor will assess if you child should be looked after in hospital based on their symptoms and other factors, including their age. Babies under 6 months old are more likely to be admitted to hospital.

Your doctor will take into account if your child:

  • has difficulty breathing
  • is dehydrated because they wont feed or drink
  • cant take antibiotics through their mouth
  • is breathing very fast
  • has low oxygen levels in their blood
  • is not responding to the prescribed antibiotics
  • has another lung, heart or immune deficiency condition

In hospital your child may be given antibiotics through a drip. If they need it, they may be given oxygen to help them breathe more easily. If they are dehydrated, they may also be given fluids through a drip.

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Feeding Your Child When They Are Ill

If you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, offer feeds more often to your baby.

If your child is older than 6 months, offer them their milk feeds and plenty to drink. Do not worry if they do not want to eat. Try to make sure they are drinking.

You may need to give toddlers extra fluids to stop them from becoming dehydrated.

Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

Pneumonia in Children &  Babies: Symptoms, Home Treatments &  More

Keep your hands clean when you handle the baby and if you have employed a nanny for the baby, make sure she practices good hygiene. Cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands and the babys hands often to prevent germs. Regularly sanitise toys, feeding bottles, utensils, and other things that can accumulate germs.

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Home Remedies For Treating Pneumonia In Babies

  • Ensure your baby gets adequate rest throughout the day and is never short of fluids. Depletion of fluids can easily cause dehydration.
  • Breastfeed in small portions to provide good amount of nutrition at regular intervals.
  • Avoid multiple antibiotics for cough and cold as they would be ineffective during pneumonia.
  • Keep your baby away from dust and pollutants in the air by maintaining a hygienic surrounding.
  • Make sure to keep your baby up-to-date with vaccinations. Pneumococcal vaccines help in prevention of pneumonia.
  • Have a smoke-free environment. Avoid smoking close to the baby as it might also make your baby more susceptible to asthma and other breathing problems.

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Symptoms In Babies Over A Month Old

Once a baby is over a month old, then the most noticeable symptom of pneumonia is likely to be coughing. All of the symptoms that affect newborns will possibly be present too, although grunting becomes less common as the baby grows older. Other pneumonia symptoms observed in babies of this age include:

  • Congestion, the feeling that the chest is full or clogged
  • Wheezing or heavy breathing
  • Fever, particularly during pneumonia caused by bacterial infection

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Pneumonia Causes And Diagnosis

Pneumonia is usually caused by a virus or bacteria, or in much rarer cases by fungi or parasites.

Sometimes a combination of different germs can be at play. For example, your baby’s immune system might be weakened by a virus, which makes it easier for a bacterial infection to take hold.

The two most common types of pneumonia in babies are:

  • Viral pneumonia. This is the form of pneumonia most often seen in babies. It develops when a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract â such as a cold or influenza â moves further down into the chest. The signs of viral pneumonia may appear gradually, and they are sometimes less severe than those of bacterial pneumonia.

  • Bacterial pneumonia. Lung infections can also be caused by bacteria. With this type of pneumonia, the symptoms can appear without warning, and often start with a sudden high fever and rapid breathing.

Only your healthcare provider can determine what’s causing your little one’s pneumonia, so it’s essential to have any possible symptoms checked out as soon as possible.

Pneumonia is usually diagnosed based on a physical examination, but an X-ray or blood tests might also be needed to gather more information about your little oneâs condition.

Underlying Causes Of Recurrent Pneumonia In Children

Child health: understanding signs of pneumonia

Most children with correctly identified recurrent pneumonia have a known predisposing factor. Some of theses factors and underlying medical conditions include:

  • Aspiration Syndrome was the most common underlying cause in children with recurrent pneumonia
  • Pulmonary anomalies and structural abnormalities
  • Immune disorders and immunological abnormalities
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Hypersecretory Asthma: excess production of bronchial secretions
  • Bronchiectasis: Causes of bronchiectasis include cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia, immunodeficiency, retained foreign body and recurrent aspiration

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Complications Of Pneumonia In Children

  • Breathing difficulty: Pneumonia in children with chronic lung disease such as asthma can make it very difficult for a child to breathe and take in enough oxygen.
  • Fluid accumulation around the lungs : Pneumonia can cause fluid to accumulate in the space between the tissue lining of the lungs and chest cavity . The fluid can potentially become infected and need to be drained through surgery or a chest tube.
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream : Bacteria from the lungs can enter the bloodstream and spread the infection to other organs.
  • Lung abscess: When pus forms in a cavity of the lungs, it is known as a lung abscess and requires antibiotics and sometimes drainage.

Does My Child Need To See A Doctor About Pneumonia

You should take your child to see your GP if your child:

  • has a cough and fever
  • has difficulty breathing you might see the ribs or skin under the neck sucking in, flaring nostrils or a bobbing head
  • is vomiting and not able to drink much
  • has stomach pain or chest pain, especially when coughing.

If your younger baby is listless and breathing rapidly, you should take your baby to the GP, especially if your baby is under five months old.

You know your child best, so trust your instincts if your child doesnt seem well. If your child has significant shortness of breath, your childs skin or lips are pale or blue, or your child is drowsy or hard to wake up, call 000 for an ambulance.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia

The signs and symptoms depend on your child’s age and the cause of his or her pneumonia. Signs and symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin more quickly than signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia. Your child may have any of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain when your child coughs or breathes deeply
  • Abdominal pain near your child’s ribs
  • Poor appetite
  • Crying more than usual, or more irritable or fussy than normal
  • Pale or bluish lips, fingernails, or toenails

What Are The Different Types Of Pneumonia

Pneumonia In Babies: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Pneumonia is a general term for the infection in the lungs, which can be caused by many different organisms. It is grouped into two categories: Bacterial and Viral Pneumonia. Young children and babies more commonly get pneumonia caused by viruses such as the respiratory syncytial virus . Pneumonia in infants may be caused by pathogens such as group B streptococcus , which is usually contracted at birth during normal delivery. Older children may develop pneumonia because of various other viral and bacterial infections of the lungs.

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Recurrent Pneumonia In Children

Pneumonia can be a serious illness, recurrent pneumonia is a concerning and potentially dangerous condition in children. Recurrent pneumonia is defined as 2 or more episodes of pneumonia in a year or 3 episodes ever separated by an asymptomatic period of a month or clear chest X-rays. Recurrent pneumonia in children typically has underlying causes.

How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed In Children

Your doctor will ask you questions and examine your child. They will:

  • take their temperature
  • check for fast breathing or low oxygen saturation
  • listen to their chest

Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria or a virus, but it is almost impossible to separate the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia in very young children.

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How To Treat Pneumonia In Babies

If the paediatrician thinks that the pneumonia is mild, then the baby can be treated at home. Viral pneumonia usually resolves on its own over time, as the babys immune system fights the virus. Bacterial pneumonia would be treated with antibiotics. If the baby is being treated at home, it can be difficult to tell whether the infection is bacterial or viral, since there are no tests to determine the causative organism. In such cases, the doctor would prescribe a course of antibiotics just to make sure the baby is on the safe side.

Causes Of Pediatric Pneumonia

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Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air sacs, also known as the alveoli, in the lungs, usually caused by infection that causes them to fill with fluid or pus.

This inflammation interferes with the lungsâ ability to breathe and properly supply oxygen to the body, causing many of the symptoms described above.

Pneumonia is almost always caused by bacteria or a virus. In children below school age, viral infection is the most common cause. School-aged children and young adolescents are more likely to develop a bacterial infection.

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Is Pneumonia Infectious

Although pneumonia itself is not generally infectious, the viruses and bacteria that can cause it may spread from person to person.

Some infections that can cause pneumonia â such as influenza â may be transmitted through coughing and sneezing.

Sharing drinking glasses or utensils is another way of spreading germs, so donât let anyone â especially other babies or children â drink from your babyâs cup or bottle or use your childâs cutlery, plates or bowls. Likewise, donât allow your baby to use other peopleâs utensils.

When To Call The Doctor

You should call your childs doctor if your child:

  • Has trouble breathing or is breathing much faster than usual
  • Has a bluish or gray color to the fingernails or lips
  • Is older than 6 months and has a fever over 102°F
  • Is younger than 6 months and has a temperature over 100.4°F.
  • Has a fever for more than a few days after taking antibiotics

When your child should stay home and return to school or childcare

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Things That You Can Do To Help Your Child At Home Are

  • Control the fever with the proper medicine and right strength for the age of your child. Fevers lower than 101° F do not need to be treated unless the child is uncomfortable .
  • Give your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • See that your child gets lots of rest.
  • Do not give over-the-counter cough medicines or other OTC medicines without asking the health provider first. The child needs to cough and bring up the phlegm. Coughing is the bodys way of clearing the infection from the lungs.
  • Avoid exposing your child to tobacco smoke or other irritants in the air.

How Can I Treat My Babys Pneumonia At Home

Pneumonia in young children

Only your doctor can determine what treatment is needed. Besides any medication prescribed by your doctor, make sure your baby gets plenty of rest and stays hydrated.

Illness is one of those challenges that youâre bound to face from time to time as a parent, but of course itâs still normal to feel worried about what to do if your newborn baby or toddler gets a condition like pneumonia.

With any luck, knowing a bit more about this condition and how effectively it can be treated will put your mind at ease and help you to recognise the warning signs and symptoms so that your little one receives the best possible treatment as soon as possible.

In most cases, it wonât be long before your babyâs back to his or her usual self and youâll be able to get on with enjoying the adventure that is parenthood.

How we wrote this articleThe information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below.The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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Causes Of Pneumonia In Children

Children are vulnerable to developing pneumonia from viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Pneumonia often develops as a complication of another disease like the flu or a viral upper respiratory infection. Our nose and throat passageways allow microorganisms to get into our airways and infect the air sacs of our lungs.

Respiratory syncytial virus is a virus often found in children with pneumonia who are 5 years old or younger. Children younger than 1 year old have an increased risk of pneumonia if they are exposed to secondhand smoke. The following conditions can make children more likely to get pneumonia from microorganisms:

  • Compromised immune system
  • Chronic health issues like cystic fibrosis or asthma
  • Lung or airway problems

Treating Pneumonia In Children

The effectiveness of pneumonia treatment depends on whether the cause was a virus or bacteria. Doctors typically rely on a physical exam and tests, including chest x-rays and blood tests, to diagnose pneumonia. They may request a sputum culture to confirm the presence of a lung infection and use a pulse oximeter to measure your childâs oxygen levels.

If a virus caused a childâs pneumonia, treatment options are more limited. Doctors may recommend rest and medication to keep the childâs fever down if one is present. It’s recommended not to give cough suppressants with codeine or dextromethorphan to children with pneumonia. Coughing helps expel excess mucus and clears the lungs.

Antibiotics can be effective in cases where bacteria cause pneumonia. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat your childâs pneumonia, you should give them the recommended dosage as often as your doctor directs you to. Avoid the temptation to stop using them once your child shows improvement. There may still be bacteria lingering in your childâs lungs, and if you stop giving antibiotics to your child, it may allow for pneumonia to return.

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Will My Child Be Given Antibiotics

That depends on whether their pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus.

If it is likely that your child has bacterial pneumonia, they will be given antibiotic tablets or liquid to fight the bacteria. They will usually improve a lot within the first 48 hours – but theyll probably continue to cough for longer. Its important to finish the whole course of antibiotics, even if your child seems better.

If your childs pneumonia is caused by a virus then antibiotics wont work.

Its not always easy to tell if pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus. To be on the safe side, your doctor may decide to give antibiotics if they cant be sure of the cause.

Pneumonia Symptoms In Children

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Pneumonia symptoms usually begin like a cold with a runny nose and coughing. Symptoms then get worse and may include a high fever, abdominal pain and difficulty breathing.

Contact your childs pediatrician if your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting

Get medical help immediately if your child has any of the following:

  • Blue or gray color to the lips or fingernails
  • Trouble breathing or breathing too fast

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Treatment Of Pneumonia In Children

The following interventional steps may help in faster recovery of children with pneumonia .

  • Taking ample rest
  • Administering acetaminophen for fever and discomfort
  • Taking cough medications

For children with breathing problems and severe symptoms, the following treatments might be suggested in a hospital setting.

  • Oral or IV antibiotics for bacterial infection
  • IV fluids if the child is unable to keep the fluids down
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Suctioning the childs nose and mouth to get rid of thick mucus
  • Nebulizers or inhalers for wheezing
  • Breathing treatment according to the pediatricians recommendations

Pneumonia due to flu may be treated with antiviral medications. Do not administer OTC drugs without consulting a doctor, and ensure the child takes the full prescribed antibiotic course and at the specific dosage suggested by the doctor.

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