Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can vary in severity. Kids under five tend to be more at risk because their immune systems haven’t developed fully yet. But it can happen to people of any age, so having an awareness of this illness is essential for parents so that they know what to look out for.
If your little one comes down with a bout of pneumonia, they will need immediate medical attention. Therefore, it is essential that you be aware of the common symptoms. In this post, we will take a look at some of the common causes of childhood pneumonia.
Symptoms will vary from case to case, but generally, if your child has pneumonia, they will have a high fever and issues with their breathing. Other symptoms include:
- Chest and abdominal pain
- Lack of energy and disinterest in usual activities
- Loss of appetite
As we mentioned above, kids under the age of five are usually at higher risk of infection. But there are some other issues which may increase the risk, such as:
- Chronic health problems such as asthma
- Kids with existing lung problems
- Kids who are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke
- Little ones who are suffering from a severe bout of the flu
Pneumonia in kids can be caused by bacteria or viruses and possibly even fungi. Influenza is a common culprit in younger kids, but these other bugs can also be problematic:
Streptococcus pneumonia—common bacteria found in the nose, which can be problematic for children under two years old.
Adenovirus—these viruses lead to a variety of issues alongside pneumonia, such as the common cold and bronchitis. They usually cause problems in the respiratory tract. The virus itself is highly contagious, and kids often pick it up from school or childcare centers.
Rhinoviruses—this is the virus that is usually to flame for the common cold. It is easily spread through contact, so it will come as no surprise to know that younger kids have the common cold around five times a year. If you have a child under two, you should keep a close eye on their symptoms. If they get a cold—as in some cases—it can lead to respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus—RSV is a significant cause of respiratory infections in kiddies, and, like all the others, is highly contagious. There are RSV injections available if your child is at a higher risk.
A lot of the time, your child will get sick because they have been exposed to bacteria, fungi, or viruses in the community. Maybe someone in the family had the flu, or one of your kids decided to share their germs by not practicing good personal hygiene.
These days, the risk of pneumonia in kids is lower because the development of vaccines offers protection from some types of pneumonia and influenza. You should speak with your doctor about the different vaccines that are available and when is the best time to get vaccinated.
Personal hygiene around the house is essential, especially if you have a newborn around. Babies under two may not yet be adequately immunized, so they will be more at risk from pneumonia-causing bacteria and viruses.