Children are believed to be the gift of god. They are loved and cared by most parents. Parents try their best to prevent their children from being afflicted with any disease in their early life. But it may be surprising to know that each year almost 1.8 million children under the age of 5 years are killed by pneumonia. In fact, pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide and accounts for deaths more than malaria, measles and AIDS combined.
Pneumonia is a condition of great concern for millions of children and their parents worldwide. People need to be educated more about this condition that takes the life of millions of children every year. Though pneumonia affects children the world over, it is most widespread in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and may be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. Children can be affected by any kind of pneumonia but it is most commonly caused by viruses. The chief viruses that cause pneumonia in children are rhinovirus, adenoviruses, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Pneumonia in children caused by viruses and bacteria are highly contagious. This illness can easily spread from one person to another if proper precautions are not taken. It usually spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs on another person, or shares common utensils with others, or when anyone touches the handkerchiefs or tissues used by the pneumonia patients. Hence you must take care to prevent your child from coming in contact with children or other persons who are infected with pneumonia.
Usually pneumonia starts after the infection of upper respiratory tract i.e. an infection of the throat and nose. After having sore throat or a cold for 2 or 3 days the symptoms of pneumonia may be observed. When pneumonia is caused by virus the symptoms are usually less clear, less serious and appear slowly.
If you observe the most common symptoms of pneumonia such as fever, chest pain, cough, tiredness, etc in your child you must consult your doctor. You should not panic if your child is diagnosed with pneumonia because it can be treated with antibiotics. You can also prevent your child from getting infected with pneumonia by providing good nutrition and getting your child immunized against pneumonia.