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Pneumonia: How Can You Protect Your Child From It?

MBBS, Diploma In Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases, DNB
Pulmonologist, Delhi  •  18 years experience
Pneumonia: How Can You Protect Your Child From It?

Pneumonia is a serious ailment in the lungs which can affect people of all ages even though kids are most vulnerable to this. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization, over 160 million children across the globe get affected by pneumonia every year out of whom 20 million have to be hospitalized, and 2 million die.

Who is most susceptible to pneumonia?
Children who are exposed to the smoke of tobacco or have poor nutrition, asthma, high blood sugar, cold, flu, poor shelter, HIV infection and lack of proper breastfeeding are at risk. Also, if children don’t get an adequate amount of zinc in the diet, then they can get affected by pneumonia.

As the germs reach the lungs, this organ becomes infected and inflamed with a buildup of fluid. It can lead to breathing problems which can make inhibit the entrance of oxygen in the bloodstream. This prevents the cells in the body in performing their normal functions and infections cannot be flushed out of the body.

What are the common signs and symptoms of pneumonia?
The common symptoms of pneumonia include vomiting, chills, chest pain, rapid breathing and shortness of breath, chest retractions during respiration, fatigue, high temperature, nausea, muscle weakness, wheezing and coughing of green and slightly bloody mucus. It may also include unconsciousness, lethargy, convulsions and also feeding problems in infants. There is a type of pneumonia that does not show any major sign but which may interfere with daily functions is referred to as walking pneumonia.


How can pneumonia in children be prevented?
Having healthy habits and practising good hygiene is the best way to avoid pneumonia. Children must be encouraged to clean the hands frequently, coughing or sneezing into the elbow or sleeves instead of palms and to avoid interaction with people who are affected by any infection and flu. As a parent, you should provide proper nutrition to help your child have strong immunity and make sure that they get sufficient rest to ward off infection. You should not smoke in front of your kids as passive smoking is dangerous and help them stay away from pollutants.

You should ensure that your child is immunized as per prescribed schedule. Also, you should know about the warning signs of pneumonia and other ailments of the lungs which include fast breathing, frequent coughing, and difficulty in breathing to detect pneumonia in its early stages. And take them to visit the doctor as soon as you observe the signs. When it comes to an infant, you should breastfeed him/her as mother’s milk contains all the vital nutrients, hormones, antioxidants and antibodies that your child requires to ward off infections including pneumonia.

Thus, being aware you can protect your child from contracting the disease. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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