Key Facts about pneumonia!!

  • Pneumonia accounts for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing 920 136 children in 2015. pneumonia

  • Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi.

  • It can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition, and by addressing environmental factors.

  • Furthermore, it is caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, but only one-third of children with pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a general term for lung infections that can be caused by a variety of germs (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites).

The most common bacterial causes are Streptococcus pneumonia  and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib).  Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common viral cause.

Pneumonia is a contagious diseases that can be spread in a number of ways.

The viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child’s nose or throat, can infect the lungs if they are inhaled.

They may also spread via air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze.

In addition, pneumonia may spread through blood, especially during and shortly after birth.

Risk Factors for Pneumonia

Most healthy children can fight infections with their natural immunity.

Children whose immune systems are compromised are at higher risk of developing pneumonia.

  • A child’s immune system may be weakened by malnutrition

  • Failure to exclusively breastfeed infants

  • Presence of other illnesses such as HIV infections and measles also increase a child’s risk of contracting pneumonia.

  • Indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating with biomass fuels such as wood or dung

  • Overcrowding – living in crowded homes

  • Parental smoking.

  • Daycare attendance

Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

  • fever usually high and sometimes associated with chills,

  • cough,

  • very fast breathing (in some cases, this is the only symptom)

  • Noisy breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds

  • Difficulty with breathing – that is working hard to breathe; this can include flaring of the nostrils, belly breathing, or movement of the muscles between the ribs

  • Vomiting

  • Chest pain in older children who can complain

  • Abdominal pain, which often happens because a child is coughing and working hard to breathe

  • Weakness – less activity

  • Loss of appetite (in older kids) or poor feeding (in infants), which may lead to dehydration

  • In extreme cases, bluish or gray color of the lips and fingernails

Children with pneumonia caused by bacteria usually become sick fairly quickly, starting with a sudden high fever and unusually fast breathing. Those with pneumonia caused by viruses probably will have symptoms that appear more gradually and are less severe, wheezing can be more common.

What to do in a child with suspected Pneumonia?

  1. Take to the hospital immediately! A doctor needs to examine the child to confirm the diagnosis of pneumonia. Delay in diagnosis and treatment is responsible for the high number of deaths from pneumonia especially in the under-five children.

  2. Treatment is usually with antibiotics. For those who presented to the hospital early, treatment with antibiotics by mouth is okay but for those with severe symptoms especially breathing difficulty, they will require hospital admissions and antibiotics given into the veins (intravenous antibiotics).

  3. Some children may need other supportive treatment like oxygen, intravenous fluids (drips) and drugs to bring down the fever (antipyretics).

Prevention of Pneumonia

There is no reason any child should die from pneumonia. There are well-known preventive strategies

  1. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life protects the child from respiratory infections including pneumonia

  2. Immunization – especially the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), the Haemophilus Influenza Type B Vaccine (HIB) usually part of the PENTA vaccine and Measles vaccines are especially targetted to preventing pneumonia.

  3. Avoid overcrowding. Make sure that children sleep in well-ventilated rooms

  4. Avoidance of air-pollution – no parental smoking! No cooking with firewood and stoves in the room close to children. Keep children away from smokes and insecticides sprays

  5. Ensure that children eat adequate meals and are well-nourished.

  6. Keep children away from adults with upper respiratory tract infections. Also keep children at home when they have respiratory infections.

  7. Go to Hospital early if a child has cough and is breathing fast. PLEASE DO NOT RELY on Cough syrup!!! Take the child to hospital immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment will prevent the child from dying from pneumonia.

Join us in ensuring that no child dies from Pneumonia!!



  1. Olusola says:

    Please I can’t find any previous post about cough, catarrh and temperature in 15 months old

  2. Nike says:

    My 2yrs and 2months old was having high temperature atleat 2times in a week for 3 consequitive weeks accompanied with cough and cold , I took him to the hospital and he was place on malaria drug and antibiotic. He finished the antibiotics on Saturday morning and on Sunday night his temperature rose to 39deg so I took him to see a pediatrician on Monday morning, he was admitted and given drip and antibiotics for 3days through the veins and on the 3rd day he placed him on antibiotics syrup for the next 7days. Today is the 2nd day he has been on the syrup and the high temperatures has returned, with cough and cold as well. Also he is always restless while sleeping at night. With all this treatments, I haven’t seen much improvements In his health. Please what do you advice Dr.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Hi Nike! Kindly take the child back to see the Paediatrician who managed for follow-up. There may be need to do further tests and investigations. I imagined the fever subsided first before he was discharged after taking the antibiotics via the veins? You definitely need to go back to the Paediatrician and the IV antibiotics may need to be given for longer via the intravenous route.

      • Nike says:

        Thanks Dr. Yes the high temperature subsided before he was discharged. I took him back and I was told the antibiotics syrup and the intravenous One are in the same category so I should continue with that and the temperature was 36.5 as of when we visited the pediatric because it’s been fluctuating . He is also placed on cough syrup and blood builder,because his pcv is low and he has loss of appetite as well.

      • Bakare Victoria says:

        Good afternoon ma. My 7weeks old daughter is finding it difficult to breathe especially in the night for a week now. Although at times it will be clear but It’s like her nostril is block. I tried giving her nasal drop since yesterday afternoon but it’s still not clear. What should I do? Though we will be going for immunization tomorrow. Thank you.

        • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

          You should take her to see a Paediatrician for further evaluation at your immunization visit

  3. Mac-Athur Okpoh says:

    Good evening Ma,please son of 22 months somethings have noisy breathing at night while sleeping,though not too loud.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Kindly see a Paediatrician or ENT surgeon for further evaluation and management.

  4. Mac-Athur Okpoh says:

    Good Evening Ma, please my son of 22 months sometimes have noisy breathing at night while sleeping, though not too loud.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      It may be adenoids enlargement….Kindly see a Paediatrician or ENT surgeon for further evaluation and management.

  5. Goodevening drs my son of 10mouths has four teeth but the two on the lower gum look short and reducing further. Is that normal?

  6. meg says:

    Good evening ma. My 9months 2weeks baby is having this persistence cough wihich comes with vomiting whenever she is fed.we saw a pediatrician who pescribed cefixime.azithromycin vitamin c.nd anti malaria.after giving all the prescribed drugs.though d coughing reduced.but she still vomit after been fed.what should I do.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      You should go back to see the Paediatrician for follow-up. There are causes of cough that are associated with such type of vomiting.

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