In toddlers and children, pneumonia is often caused by the respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV. The rhinovirus is also linked to the cold, influenza and flu virus. The strep bacteria can also cause pneumonia in toddlers when there is frequent direct contact with other children.
Though the virus and bacterial infection can spread year-round, it is typically seen between October and March.
Symptoms of Pneumonia The symptoms of pneumonia can vary with the age of the child and the underlying cause of the illness. Typical symptoms include a high fever and coughing, but other signs could be vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headache, muscle pain and trouble breathing.
In many cases, pneumonia will follow a cold or upper respiratory infection.
Types of Pneumonia Bacterial pneumonia strikes suddenly, causing high fever, rapid breathing and coughing. Many children become especially fatigued and lose their appetite. With viral pneumonia, the symptoms are typically less severe and begins similar to a cold.
Pneumonia Diagnosis Pneumonia is diagnosed by listening to the child’s breathing. Though a chest x-ray, blood work or fluid tests may be performed.
Treatments for Pneumonia Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics, yet viral forms of the illness are not receptive to prescriptions, therefore rest and fluids are recommended. Acetaminophen and other over the counter fever reducers can help relieve fevers. Humidifiers can also help to make breathing easier.
While the cough can occasionally last for several weeks, most cases are better within a week.
Pneumonia Prevention There are several steps you can take to prevent the illness. Keep your child up to date on all of their shots. The Hib, DTaP, MMR, flu, chicken pox and pneumococcal vaccines all help to prevent against pneumonia. Additionally, practicing good personal hygiene and smoking outside of the home help to keep your children healthy.
If you think you child has fallen victim to pneumonia or any other illness, the trained staff of NiteOwl Pediatrics pediatric urgent care in Chattanooga is here to help. We open 7 days a week to treat sick children, even after the pediatrician's office has closed for the day.