Childhood pneumonia is curable

Pneumonia is one of the most common infections in children who aren’t breastfed, are exposed to indoor air pollution, are malnourished or live in over-crowded or polluted surroundings. Pneumonia can be transmitted via bacteria, virus, among other pathogens. However the good news is that pneumonia is preventable and if it does occur then it is curable with standard treatment at the right time.

“We should protect children from getting exposed to people who have any bacterial or viral infections, or are coughing, smoking or from exposure to any smoke such as that coming out of cook stoves, or from exposure to cold weather. The children should not be exposed to those family members, visitors or other people who are coughing. Children should also receive timely vaccination. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we provide septran, ampicilin and antamicin to treat pneumonia. Apart from these other medicines are also given the pneumonia affected child depending upon her or his medical condition. For example when there is breathing problem then the child is also put on oxygen. In our hospital which is a government hospital, all standard facilities for management of childhood pneumonia are available” said Dr Abhishek Verma, senior Paediatrician, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow.

“The government is very attentive towards mother and child care, and there are number of interventions to address their health issues such as ‘Janani Suraksha Yojna.’ Pneumonia management is done as per the guidelines of the WHO in our hospital” said Dr RS Dubey, Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS), Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Treating pneumonia early on has great benefits. “When a child suspected with pneumonia comes to my clinic we immediately refer it to paediatrician for treatment. The earlier a child is treated for pneumonia the greater the chances are of cure and lesser the chance of serious complications” said Dr Rama Shankhdhar, senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician in Indira Nagar, Lucknow.

Added Dr Shankhdhar: “At times there are drug stock-outs in government hospitals. Also government hospitals will provide medicines that are available in their stock. In private sector hospitals options for treatment of pneumonia or other conditions are not limited to few drugs rather what is best and appropriate for the patient is prescribed. We also follow the guidelines of WHO for management of pneumonia.”

Children below the age of 5 years are at a heightened risk of pneumonia. There are simple and practical modifications in our daily lives that can considerably reduce the risk of childhood pneumonia, such as, keeping the child warm and dry, away from those with infections such as cold or cough, not exposing the child to smoke (tobacco smoke, smoke from cook stoves), breastfeeding (exclusive) the child for first six months, among others. Children should be taken to healthcare services on the first symptom such as fever or cold. If the child is not breastfeeding then instead of giving her or him other home-made food please consult a doctor without delay. If the healthcare provider is recommending hospitalization for the child then don’t avoid it unless indicated otherwise. Maintaining strict hygiene and cleanliness is also important for child care and preventing pneumonia and other infections.

Nadeem Salmani – CNS
(Translation: Bobby Ramakant – CNS)