Fool proof ways to know your child has pneumonia

Pneumonia among children    In every region, pneumonia has constantly been estimated as major a leading cause of death among children (in Nigeria the 3rd most common cause of death among children). It kills more children than any other diseases combined (malaria, AIDS, measles). The State of World’s Children 2012 report shows that globally, 7.6 million children under 5 years of age die annually and 3.7 million these deaths occur in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is important to understand the underlying predisposing factors associated with child pneumonia, as practical primary prevention strategies are most likely to achieve major reductions in pneumonia-associated mortality and morbidity in children. Healthy children have many natural defenses present in their lungs that prevent pathogens causing pneumonia from invading. On the other hand, a child that is undernourished, especially those that are not breastfed exclusively or have inadequate zinc intake are susceptible to developing pneumonia. Other factors that can cause pneumonia in children are overcrowding, being exposed to indoor air pollution or parental smoking.

Children with pneumonia depending on the age and the cause may exhibit a wide range of symptoms. Common symptoms include cough, difficult or rapid breathing, headache, chills, loss of appetite and wheezing. Severe cases of pneumonia in young infants can lead to hypothermia, convulsion, feeding problems and in worst cases death

Prevention is always the best option than cure in reducing child deaths from pneumonia.  The most essential preventive measure for children is adequate nutrition (including vitamin A supplementation, breastfeeding exclusively, and intake of zinc), reduction of indoor air pollution, hand washing and child immunization.

Please note that vaccine that protect against streptococcus pneumonia the most common cause of severe pneumonia in developing countries among children is increasingly becoming available for infants and young children. Get your child (children) immunized today!!!

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