Early diagnosis critical to stop child pneumonia

It is critical that parents and caregivers recognise the symptoms of pneumonia and understand the danger the disease poses to their children's health, and seek appropriate care immediately to reduce fatalities, a health expert has said.

A baby gets a routine health check at Nhi Dong II Hospital, HCM City. Children diagnosed with pneumonia need to be hospitalised for immediate treatment. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy

Pneumonia is a severe form of acute lower respiratory infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi that specifically affects the lungs.

It was the world's number one infectious killer of children under five followed by diarrhea, malaria, injury, and HIV/AIDS, Truong Huu Khanh, head of the infectious disease department at HCM City's Pediatrics Hospital No.1, said.

Pneumonia kills an estimated 1.1 million children every year, with 98 per cent of deaths occurring in developing countries, he told a meeting to mark World Pneumonia Day yesterday.

In Viet Nam, around 2.9 million children under five contract the disease every year.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children, which usually makes them severely ill with high fever and rapid breathing.

Some common symptoms of pneumonia in children include cough, fast or difficult breathing, fever, chills, headaches, loss of appetite, and wheezing.

Children with pneumonia need to be hospitalised for immediate treatment with effective antibiotics.

Adequate nutrition is key to improving children's natural defences and protecting them from this and other diseases.

Pneumonia can be prevented by immunisation, adequate nutrition, hand washing with soap, and by addressing environmental factors like parental smoking and indoor air pollution.

Khanh warned of high levels of antibiotic resistance to treatments reported around the country.

Sustained use of antibiotics to treat children with pneumonia could make managing antibiotic resistance more difficult in future, he warned further.


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