Suara.com – Pneumonia, a disease that attacks the human lungs, can affect anyone, including children. The cause is Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and respiratory syncytial virus that enters through breathing or is inhaled accidentally, then triggers the body’s immune response and causes an inflammatory reaction.
This disease has captured the world’s attention. According to the World Health Organization or WHO, pneumonia killed 740,180 children under the age of 5 in 2019, or 14 percent of all deaths of children under five years old, and 22 percent of all deaths in children aged 1 to 5 years.
And according to the Pediatrician at the University of Indonesia Hospital (RSUI), dr. Cynthia Centauri, Sp.A revealed, in 2017 Indonesia had occupied the seventh position in the world as the country with the highest pneumonia cases.
There are several factors that can trigger a child to get pneumonia, including low immunity such as due to malnutrition, dense housing, low economic status, previous accompanying diseases such as HIV and measles, air pollution, cigarette smoke, and incomplete immunization.
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Quoted from Antara, children with pneumonia generally feel symptoms and signs such as coughing, shortness of breath marked by rapid breathing, chest indrawing, nostril breathing, blue appearance, and decreased oxygen saturation. Rapid breathing in children can be done by measuring the respiratory rate in one minute.
Other symptoms that commonly arise include difficulty eating and drinking, decreased consciousness marked by sleeping more or looking weak, fever or hypothermia, seizures, additional breath sounds, and other accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and so on.
Children with pneumonia with these symptoms should be hospitalized, especially if they have difficulty breathing or whimpering, have decreased oxygen saturation, have difficulty eating, or have comorbidities.
Basically, pneumonia has a degree, like any disease in general, which starts from mild which is characterized by the condition of the child being still active, still able to eat and drink, but breathing is rather fast and has a mild fever. In this condition the child can still be taken outpatient to the doctor.
Meanwhile, in severe degrees, marked by heavy breathing, the child is unable to eat and drink, and looks weak. If these conditions arise, immediately take the child to the nearest Emergency Room (IGD).
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According to Cynthia, the things that need to be considered by parents are: if the child is already experiencing shortness of breath, do not give them food or drink to avoid choking which can lead to aggravating the child’s condition.