Pneumonia can be due to several causes. Bacterial
pneumonia is common. It must be treated promptly.
SYMPTOMS: Suspect this
condition if the child’s breathing is faster than usual. A breathing rate of 50
or more per minute in an infant, 40 or more in a child between 1 and 5 years, and
more than 30 in an older
child should be taken seriously.
Pneumonia may start with fever, a stuffy nose or cough.
In an infant, the temperature may be around 39°C. He will
be restless, have fast breathing and look quite sick. He
may also develop cyanosis with blue lips and nails and noisy
breathing. The spaces between the lower ribs may go in when the
child breathes. The fever in an older child will be even
higher (40.5ºC or more). He may also have chills and cough out blood-tinged sputum. He may complain of
pain on the
affected side of the chest while breathing in.
TREATMENT: A child with the above symptoms must be shown to the doctor. An X-ray of the
chest may help. Antibiotics result in marked improvement within 2 to 3
days. But the medicine must be continued as per your doctor’s advice and the course completed.
Hospitalisation may be needed, especially in an infant with breathlessness.
11 February, 2013