Pneumonia affects people of any age and pneumonia in toddlers is a real threat since their immune system is still weak and underdeveloped. Immune compromised individuals can also suffer, such as the elderly, HIV sufferers, and others. Pneumonia in toddlers is an inflammation of the lungs.
It is mostly caused by viruses, bacteria or irritants. Toddlers suffering from colds or upper respiratory infections are prone to pneumonia because such infections weaken the lung’s natural defense system.
A toddler with pneumonia is a danger since it can spread it to other children. Bacteria such as Haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcus, staphylococcus streptococcus, can then invade the lungs and cause pneumonia. Viral infections such as measles, chickenpox, herpes, and others can also be directly responsible for causing pneumonia; such types of pneumonias are known as viral pneumonias and they mostly affect toddlers. Bacterial pneumonia develops when the alveoli or sacs in the lungs become inflamed causing them to fill with fluid. This makes breathing difficult. It is often accompanied by high fevers and chills. However, bacterial pneumonias do not commonly affect children.
A viral pneumonia usually sets in after the toddler has exhibited symptoms of cold for a number of days. At the onset of pneumonia, the cough gets worse and breathing appears more strained and labored. The child also begins to wheeze and develop a fever, at this point. Pneumonia often causes the toddler to cough violently at times. While a parent may want to reduce the child’s cough, it’s not advisable to give the child a cough suppressant.
This is because the cough actually helps loosen the mucus from the child’s lungs and it can therefore be expelled from the body. However, try to keep the toddler away from smoke and dust so as to avoid unnecessary irritation of the lungs.
Pneumonia is diagnosed by examining the symptoms, a physical examination and a chest X-ray. A blood sample would be required to determine the type of pneumonia that has been contacted. Antibiotics have no effect on viral pneumonia, so instead of a medicine to treat the disease, a doctor may prescribe medication to help the child breathe easily. You can also use a humidifier to help relieve the toddler’s chest congestion. It’s important that the child gets adequate rest. Keep the toddler’s toys or coloring books within arm’s reach or at the child’s bedside, to prevent unnecessary physical activity. Find out from the doctor about the dietary requirements. Milk and dairy products may aggravate the cough associated with pneumonia, so avoid these while the toddler is recovering. Since pneumonia is contagious its best to keep away any other children from the affected toddler.