In children, pneumonia can recur due to some underlying health problems. Recurrent pneumonia can be treated and prevented effectively only after identifying and curing that particular medical problem. In this article, some of the most common causes of recurrent pneumonia, along with its symptoms and treatment are explained.
Pneumonia refers to the inflammation of the lungs, which is usually caused by infections. This condition can affect people of all age groups, though the elderly and young children are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia. Sometimes, children can develop recurrent pneumonia, if they are suffering from certain underlying medical conditions.
Two or more episodes of pneumonia in a single year, or more than 3 episodes of pneumonia at any time is referred to as recurrent pneumonia. In general, pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites, of which bacterial pneumonia is more common. On the other hand, pneumonia caused by fungi is quite rare.
Causes of Recurrent Pneumonia
Usually, pneumonia is caused by microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, along with irritants. However, pneumonia caused by fungi and parasites is not very common. Recurrent pneumonia can be associated with certain underlying health conditions like Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). GERD or acid reflux disease can cause aspiration, which can put a child at an increased risk of developing pneumonia frequently.
Apart from GERD, there are several other health problems that can increase the risk for recurrent pneumonia. Some of the most common risk factors are:
- Impaired or weakened immune system
- Immune disorders
- Bronchial ciliary dysfunction
- Genetic disorders like Kartagener syndrome, where the cilia or the hair-like cells present in the lining of the airways fail to function properly
- Oropharyngeal incoordination
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sickle cell anemia
- Congenital lung or heart defects
Symptoms of Recurrent Pneumonia
The symptoms of pneumonia can greatly resemble the symptoms of flu or influenza. The most commonly observed pneumonia symptoms in children are:
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Muscle pain and fatigue
Treatment of Recurrent Pneumonia
Physicians usually detect pneumonia with the help of a chest X-ray, blood or mucus test, and physical examination. Pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. However, viral pneumonia does not respond to antibiotics. Viral pneumonia usually resolves within a couple of days with adequate rest. In the meantime, increasing fluid or water intake can help speed up the healing process. Anti-viral medications are usually prescribed only when the infection is serious in nature. On the other hand, pneumonia caused by fungi is treated with the help of antifungal medications.
But in the case of recurrent pneumonia, it is very important to identify the underlying medical problem that is causing the recurrent episodes, along with treating the infection. Effective treatment of the underlying medical condition can prevent recurrent pneumonia in children. Therefore, the treatment of recurrent pneumonia can differ slightly from the treatment of typical pneumonia. Along with curing the infection, the treatment needs to be directed towards alleviating the root cause for the effective management of recurrent pneumonia.
If your child experiences more than one episodes of pneumonia in a single year, be sure to report it immediately to the pediatric. Proper evaluation of this condition is of crucial importance to find out and address the underlying health problem, in order to prevent recurrent pneumonia in kids.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.