Pneumonia is a condition for which, prompt treatment is always advisable. This article deals with the signs and symptoms of pneumonia in kids.
Even though pneumonia can affect people of all age groups, it is commonly found in children and is one of the leading causes of child deaths across the globe. Pneumonia can be generally defined as the inflammation of one or both lungs, due to infection caused by microorganisms like bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites, etc. Pneumonia can also be caused by chemical irritants or physical injury of the lungs. It has been observed that in most cases, upper respiratory tract infections lead to pneumonia. While some signs of pneumonia are common, individual symptoms may sometimes vary according to the age and health of the child and the causal agent.
Symptoms of Pneumonia in Kids
Pneumonia can be mild, moderate or severe and life-threatening. It is often found to develop as a complication arising out of other conditions like influenza. So, the symptoms are not easily recognizable and this results in worsening of the condition. In most cases, kids affected with pneumonia, develop symptoms like fever, rapid breathing and dry cough. The affected children may also experience chest pain, especially with cough (not as common as in adults), breathing trouble, wheezing, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting (mostly after dry cough), abdominal pain, headache, pink eye, skin rash, sore throat, etc. In extreme cases, the symptoms may include grunting when breathing, rapid breathing and bluish discoloration of the lips and face. In such cases, immediate medical attention is needed.
Now that you have a basic idea about pneumonia symptoms in children, it is important to keep in mind that recognizing such symptoms (in kids) may be very difficult. As compared to adults, these symptoms are found to be subtle, in case of kids. The affected child may not display all the above said symptoms, but, even if he/she is experiencing a few of them, it will be better to consult the pediatrician and rule out the possibility of pneumonia.
Variations in Child Pneumonia Symptoms
As mentioned above, there cannot be a set of classic symptoms of pneumonia, in case of kids. The symptoms may vary with factors like the causal agent, age and health condition of the child. Most cases of pneumonia are viral or bacterial in nature. Bacterial pneumonia is characterized by a rapid onset of symptoms like high fever and troubled breathing. In case of viral pneumonia, the symptoms may develop very slowly and tend to be less severe. The most common symptom in this case is wheezing. Another type that is caused by mycoplasma is called walking pneumonia, which causes symptoms like sore throat and headaches. If the causal agent is chlamydia, it can cause conjunctivitis in infants. If pneumonia develops due to whooping cough, the child may experience long spells of cough and may sometimes turn blue due to decreased air supply to the lungs.
Timely treatment is very important in pneumonia, so that complications are avoided. The diagnosis is done with chest X-rays, blood tests, etc. In case of bacterial pneumonia, treatment is often done with antibiotics. In case of viral pneumonia, antiviral medicines are used. Drugs for relieving fever and cough, are also used. Early detection and treatment is always better to avoid complications like spesis, sptic shock, lung abscess, etc. So, if you notice symptoms of pneumonia in your kid, get the condition diagnosed and treated at the earliest.