Pneumonia can be caused by a whole host of reasons ranging from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) to Group B Streptococcus (GBS) which is acquired at birth, to even different kinds of bacterial infections.
The following are the most common general symptoms of pneumonia:
- Persistent cough and fever
- Weakness and muscle pain in your baby
- Vomiting and loss of appetite
- Trouble in breathing
- Shaking chills
- Breathing with grunting or wheezing
- Unwell, tired, and lethargic appearance of the baby
Your baby, if affected by bacterial pneumonia, will have sudden and quick symptoms like high fever, rapid breathing, poor appetite, frequent coughing, bluish lips or nails and faster pulse. Abdominal pain and a stiff neck may also be observed in some cases.
On the other hand, viral pneumonia typically has symptoms like cold, fever above 101 Fahrenheit, severe cough, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhoea, and trouble in breathing. Symptoms here are generally less severe and develop slowly.
Simple ways to prevent pneumonia:
- Give your baby timely vaccines – Hib, DTaP, MMR, flu vaccines, chicken pox vaccines, all help prevent pneumonia
- Practice good personal hygiene to avoid spread of germs
- Make your house smoke-free. Babies who live around smokers are at higher risk of pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, asthma and ear infections
- Have your child drink clear fluids like water, juice, or gelatine water to prevent dehydration
- Administer prescribed medicines like paracetamol to reduce fever and other pain-relieving medicines. Make sure they are appropriate for usage for kids.
Pneumonia is treated mostly with antibiotics (in cases when they are caused by bacteria).
In some severe cases where the infection is caused by say whooping cough, hospital treatment may be necessary. There may be a need to provide oxygen therapy too.
Admitting your baby to the hospital is also necessary when your baby’s lung infection may have spread to the bloodstream due to any chronic illness or a sub-par immune system or is vomiting so much that administering oral medicine is not feasible.
In most cases, with proper and effective treatment, most types of bacterial pneumonia are cured within one to two weeks, although viral pneumonia can last longer.