What to know about pneumonia

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Coughing and sneezing is normal this time of year, but lingering symptoms could turn into something more serious… requiring a hospital stay.

Pneumonia is the leading cause of hospitalization among children, with kids under five years old at the greatest risk.

Dr. Shannon Cohen with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to talk more about what to know about pneumonia.

What is pneumonia and how do you get it?

Pneumonia is a lung infection cause by a variety of germs like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Most are caused by viruses just like the common cold & spreads the same way. If symptoms of a virus linger for too long, it can move into the lungs where pneumonia develops.

What are the signs & symptoms of pneumonia?

  • Cough
  • Fast, labored breathing sometimes this is the only sign
  • Increased activity of breathing muscles below and between the ribs and above the collarbone
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Pain in the chest, particularly with coughing or deep breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Bluish tint to lips or nails, caused by decreased oxygen in the bloodstream

Is Walking Pneumonia the same?

Walking pneumonia means it’s a milder case of pneumonia, which wouldn’t require you to go to the hospital. You may also hear people talk about double pneumonia – that means the infection is in both lungs.

Treatment of pneumonia & when to bring child to ER:

If child is struggling to breathe bring them to ER immediately where medical treatment can be administered quickly and safely and may require a stay in the hospital. A pediatrician will listen to lungs for fluid & may order a chest x-ray. If it’s bacterial antibiotics will be prescribed. Antibiotics won’t work on viruses, in this case fever-reducing medicines may be used along with cool-mist humidifier at home. No matter the type of pneumonia, getting rest and plenty of fluids is important.

Is there a way to prevent pneumonia?

Doctors recommend that getting all childhood vaccinations, washing hands thoroughly and often can reduce the spread; along with covering coughs/sneezes & staying home when sick.

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