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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Community-acquired Pneumonia in Children: All you need to know

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi infecting air sacs in the lungs. Learn all you need to know about the disease including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Home, school, family gatherings, and other community settings can spread community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Infection by bacteria, viruses, or fungi in lung air sacs.

Dr. Farhan Shaikh, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, says adenovirus, RSV, and influenza often cause CAP in children. Also common are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza.

Pediatric pneumonia symptoms include fever, cough (often with mucus or phlegm), quick or difficult breathing, chest pain, tiredness, and vomiting or diarrhoea. Lethargy, irritability, and poor eating are also signs.

To diagnose CAP, a doctor will examine a child’s symptoms, perform a physical exam, and order a chest X-ray, blood test, or nasopharyngeal swab.

The child’s age, symptoms, and cause determine CAP treatment. Antibiotics may treat bacterial pneumonia, but rest, water, fever management, and antiviral medicines treat viral pneumonia. Occasionally, pneumonia can overwhelm a child, producing breathing difficulties and respiratory distress that requires oxygen to maintain blood oxygen saturations. Such instances may require child hospitalization. If oxygen saturation drops despite oxygen masks, the child may need to be admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit for closer monitoring and high-end care, such as mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

The Indian government recommends routine vaccines for children to prevent CAP. We need pneumococcus and influenza vaccines to prevent pneumonia.

Hygiene: Teach kids to wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Avoid sick people and practice respiratory hygiene, such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, to avoid respiratory infections.

Healthy lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep strengthen immunity and lower CAP risk and severity.

Parents suspecting pneumonia must seek medical attention quickly. Diagnostics and therapy must be early to prevent complications.


Adenovirus, RSV, influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenza can cause CAP in children. Fever, cough, rapid breathing, chest pain, tiredness, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms. To diagnose, doctors evaluate symptoms, examine the body, and conduct testing. Age, symptom intensity, and cause determine treatment. Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with drugs, while viral pneumonia requires supportive care. Specialized care units are rare. Parents should vaccinate their children following to India’s schedule, educate them proper hand cleanliness, and promote a healthy lifestyle to improve the immune system and reduce CAP risk. Effective management and preventing complications require early diagnosis and treatment.

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