According to the (WHO) World pneumonia day was established in 2009 to raise awareness about pneumonia: the world’s leading killer of children under the age of five. To be precise,1 of 5 child deaths are caused by Pneumonia despite it being treatable and preventable.
Most often than not, it is misdiagnosed because symptoms are more or less like that of a flu and that is why I always insist on a doctor’s diagnosis and not our own assumptions.
I spoke with Lucia Ndemo, A cousin of mine who is also a Pediatric at the Nairobi hospital on how to prevent Pneumonia in children and the necessary steps to take in case of a diagnosis .
1.What is pneumonia?
It is an infection of the lungs that causes inflammation of lung tissue.
2. What causes pneumonia?
- Bacterial eg streptococcus
- Pneumonia Viral e.g. rhinoviruses
- Fungal e.g candida
3. What are the early symptoms that should raise an eyebrow?
- Chest pains
- Loss of appetite and loss of weight
- Fast or difficulty in breathing
- Easily fatigued
4. What preventive measures are there to prevent pneumonia in children?
- Pneumonia vaccine which is part of KEPI(Kenya Expanded programme for immunization). This means every child should get the vaccine.
- Other vaccines such as pertussis vaccine, Haemophilus infuenza vaccine.
- thoroughly washing hands especially after a known exposure.
- Limiting exposure to known cases of pneumonia.
- Avoid pollution.
- Proper nutrition with macro nutrients and micro nutrients.
5. What cures are there for pneumonia?
- It depends on the cause. Identification of cases and treatment appropriately. For example bacterial causes require administration of antibiotics
- Supportive care such as oxygen administration, IV fluids if dehydrated.
6. Is it contagious?
It is spread commonly by aerosol droplets from an infected person. Those more susceptible include children and those with weakened immunity such as HIV patients/ cancer patients.
7. As a doctor, are there any parting shot words you would like to share to bring more light to pneumonia?
As parents it is important to ensure your child is fully vaccinated against all vaccine preventable illnesses such as pneumonia .
A huge thank you to Dr. Lucia Ndemo, You have not heard the last of her,She will be back to speak more on matters health.
And to you my reader, thank you for always taking time to read these posts.
N/B: Please note, I do not encourage self diagnosis and self treatment. By using the word ‘self diagnose’, it is in the hopes of bringing light to symptoms you should look out for before visiting your doctor .