Pneumonia means ‘fluid in the lungs’ and is caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. It is actually quite common in children under the age of 5 but Pneumonia in infants can pose a serious health risk if not treated correctly. Many children and infants that are infected with pneumonia will require hospitalization as well as antibiotics to fight the infection.
Pneumonia in infants occurs when the fluid inside the lungs blocks the exchange of gases in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia will cut off the airflow to the body. Bacterial pneumonia will require antibiotics to fight the infection while viral pneumonia will usually go away on its own.
Symptoms of Pneumonia in Babies
The problem with pneumonia is that when it strikes a baby or young infant, hospitalization is often required. The symptoms of pneumonia can strike very suddenly and can include:
- High fever
- Rapid or irregular breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Blue colouration around the mouth
However, in other instances, pneumonia may be the result of serious flu or cold that won’t seem to go away. Often colds can lead to a chest infection such as pneumonia. If your child seems to be having trouble getting rid of a cold and has developed more serious symptoms, then it’s time to see your doctor.
Treating Pneumonia in Infants
In order to have pneumonia confirmed your doctor will most likely need a chest x-ray. Once this is completed he will be able to determine if there is an infection or not. Often they will be able to confirm an infection by listening to your child’s back. If one side seems muffled and quieter than the other, this indicates an infection or blockage.
Your doctor may also require blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and will monitor your child’s stats. He will check the flow of oxygen, heart rate, temperature and blood pressure regularly and usually start your child on a course of antibiotics either orally or intravenously.
Additional remedies for pneumonia include plenty of fluids and rest as well as medication such as Panodol to reduce the pain and fever of the infection. Depending on whether the medication is taken intravenously or orally, you can expect your baby to start feeling better within a few hours to a few days. You will need to continue with the antibiotics for ten days.
If you do notice that your baby does have an extremely high fever, seems off colour and is having difficulties breathing, then don’t take any chances. Pneumonia can be fatal in young babies if it is not treated in time. However, with the right treatment, most babies will recover from this infection without any recollection of it and no damage to the lungs or body.
If you become concerned about any symptoms please seek immediate medical attention we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/
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