In children, the signs and symptoms of pneumonia are not always as obvious as in adults. In infants, for example, a child’s breathing may be fast and the infant may appear to have no symptoms. Infants under five are at risk of rapid breathing, and older adults may show less severe symptoms, including lower body temperature and confusion. A doctor will perform a physical exam and listen for abnormal sounds in the lungs. If any of these symptoms sound like pneumonia, the child should be seen by a pediatrician.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pneumonia are similar to those of a cold or influenza. Upon examination, a doctor may determine whether you are suffering from pneumonia. The doctor will ask you about your medical history, run tests, and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you hear crackling sounds when you breathe in, you likely have pneumonia. Blood cultures will be ordered to determine the germ causing the illness. A chest X-ray will also show the extent of inflammation in the lungs.

A lung abscess, an infection of the pleura (the thin membrane that lines the inside of the chest), may occur. Surgery or draining of the pus may be necessary. If the infection is severe, a person may have trouble breathing and may require a ventilator or a respirator. A pleural effusion, a fluid filled sac that surrounds the lungs, may also develop. Symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain and a rash.

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Causes

While many people can contract pneumonia at any age, people who are at an increased risk of developing it are younger children and premature babies. The risk of pneumonia also increases in people who are older or have weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS, cancer, or organ transplants. People who do not receive recommended vaccines for pneumonia are also at a higher risk of contracting the condition. But, whatever the cause of the infection, there is always a way to treat it.

If you suspect that you have pneumonia, you should visit your doctor right away. A chest X-ray may help confirm the diagnosis. A CT scan can provide a more detailed view of the lungs. A doctor will also perform a white blood cell (WBC) count to determine the severity of the infection. An arterial blood gas test measures oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Your doctor may also order a blood culture to determine the type of infection you have.

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Treatment

The treatment of pneumonia depends on the severity of the illness. Severe pneumonia may require oxygen therapy and hospitalization in the intensive care unit. It will leave you weak and tired for a long time. Although rare, about one person in a hundred will die from pneumonia. People with weakened immune systems and those with underlying health problems may require more complex treatment. However, the disease is not fatal if you get proper treatment.

The main goal of treatment for pneumonia is to treat the underlying infection and prevent complications. While antibiotics are commonly prescribed for community-acquired pneumonia, some bacteria can cause it to progress. Antibiotics, however, can be ineffective or may take longer to fight. In addition, they may not clear the infection completely, or you may become resistant to the medication. As a result, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders when treating a pneumonia infection.

Signs and symptoms in children

There are some preventable ways to reduce the risk of pneumonia in children. One way is to immunize your child against common diseases, such as influenza. Another way is to keep them from sharing utensils and foods, as this can lead to transmission. Keeping drinking glasses and eating utensils separate is also important. The same goes for handkerchiefs and shared toys. Younger children tend to put things they share in their mouths, so good hygiene is important.

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If bacterial pneumonia is the cause, your child may require hospitalization. He or she may need extra fluids and oxygen. Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, usually resolves on its own. Antibiotics are generally prescribed to cure viral pneumonia. Children with viral pneumonia may not need treatment. They will need to rest, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and keep hydrated. In addition, breastmilk is recommended for babies who have respiratory infections.

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