Missing The Signs

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All too often, parents fail to recognise pneumonia until it’s too late.

Fikri, 5 years old, had chickenpox. He seemed happy and lively enough until he developed high spiking fever and rapid breathing. He started coughing out voluminous amounts of phlegm. He was eventually hospitalised and diagnosed as having pneumonia.

Anusha had measles when she was 2 years old. In addition to the dry cough and runny nose, she started to breathe rapidly and appeared breathless. Her parents thought she had asthma. They were shocked when the doctor diagnosed Anusha with pneumonia, secondary to measles.

Liyana, 1-year- old, developed an ear infection that she picked up from the daycare center. She developed severe pain and fever, and eventually a terrible cough. When diagnosed, doctors said that the bacteria from the ear had spread to her lungs and caused Liyana to develop pneumonia.

Mei Ling was 6 months old when she contracted pertussis or whooping cough. The non-stop coughing was so severe that she couldn’t even cry. Her coughing spasms improved on her 6th day in hospital, but she had a high fever and appeared breathless in between the coughing episodes. A chest x-ray confirmed that she had pneumonia.

 

A case of mistaken identity

Each of these children had started with a different infection. But they all ended up with pneumonia.

This is a serious disease that ranks as one of the leading causes of child death globally. Around the world, it is responsible for the death of a child every 20 seconds1. In Malaysia, the prevalence of pneumonia among children under 5 years old is between 28% and 39%4.

Pneumonia is mainly caused by viruses but the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (S.pneumoniae) is the most common bacterial cause1, 2.Your child can also contract pneumonia from further complications of other diseases, which have weakened their immune system.

Terlepas Pandang. Don’t miss or mistake the signs and symptoms of pneumonia. Early detection can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for parents and even doctors to miss the early symptoms of this deadly disease and dismiss them as signs of a common cough or cold. This allows the disease to progress unabated.

If detected early, doctors will be able to treat the disease, most commonly with oral antibiotics, without having to resort to drastic and invasive measures. In contrast, pneumonia detected in its later stages will often require intravenous antibiotics and more invasive measures when there is fluid in the chest (empyema). Clearly, paying attention to early pneumonia symptoms in children can help you avoid painful treatments and even death in your child.

Given the insidious and serious nature of pneumonia, it is best to prevent it in the first place. Check out the slides below for some simple measures that can be taken.

Vaccination is essential in helping to reduce the risk of mortality. So give your child all the vaccinations that can help protect him/her from the different diseases that may lead to pneumonia. Find out more from your healthcare provider.

pneu-infographics

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