8 Ways To Protect Your Baby From Pneumonia
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on Jan 30, 2018
Pneumonia is a form of severe respiratory infection that can affect one or both lungs. Pneumonia is a serious life-threatening illness in newborns babies, toddlers. For the 6 to 9 percent of all stillborn or newborn infants, pneumonia is the main reason. Pneumonia stands for 13% of all contagious disease in infants before they turn two years. Continue reading to understand more facts about pneumonia, one of the most common infections to which the newborns child are susceptible.
How Pneumonia Occurs in Children?
Pneumonia happens when the infection causing microbes get into the lungs. The lungs are comprised of little sacs called alveoli, which, as a rule, fill with air when we breathe in. However, when the baby contracts pneumonia, these alveoli start to fill with pus and fluid (in response to the body's natural reaction to fighting infection). This makes breathing difficult and restricts the intake of oxygen.
What Causes Pneumonia In Newborn Babies?
Both viruses and bacteria can cause the early-onset of pneumonia in newborns.
- Newborns acquire pneumonia from the mother during the labor or delivery. The organisms that cause infection in the fetal lungs are more often than not commonly found in the maternal vagina
- Newborns may acquire pneumonia when they breathe in the infected amniotic fluid
- It can also happen as an after effect of the breast milk accidentally entering the lungs of the newborns
- Exposure to chlamydial organisms during delivery can bring about chlamydial pneumonia. 5 to 30% of the neonates exposed to chlamydia will develop pneumonia between 2 to 12 weeks
- Newborns can catch pneumonia from two types of bacteria – Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Streptococcus pneumoniae
- A virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most common causes of viral pneumonia in newborns
What Are The Signs Of Pneumonia In Childrens?
All the symptoms and signs of pneumonia may not necessarily should come out in newborns. Here are some of the signs that indicate the possibility of pneumonia in newborns.
- Difficulty to suckle
- Fast and shallow breathing
- Bluish lips and nails
- In severe cases, the lower chest wall draws in noticeably when the baby breathes in
Why Is It Said That Bacterial Pneumonia Is Fatal In Newborns?
In the newborn babies, pneumonia may spread through the blood. Pneumonia caused by bacteria, when invades the newborn's bloodstream, can lead to acute meningitis, an infection of the membranes covering the brain, which is fatal.
8 Ways To Protect The Infant From Pneumonia
Here are 8 ways through which you may try and protect your baby.
- Vaccination: Vaccination is the most important method of prevention. The pneumococcal vaccine will help in preventing pneumonia. Vaccination (DTP) against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough is also important as these infections can lead to pneumonia in infants
- Immunizing expectant mothers: Recently, some studies have shown that by immunizing the pregnant woman, we can prevent pneumonia in newborns to great extent. Make sure the pregnant women get her yearly flu shot. Flu can lead to pneumonia. When a pregnant woman receives a vaccine, she can obviously produce antibodies. She passes these antibodies to the baby. Thus the baby will be born with antibodies produced by the mother to certain infections. This is important because the baby can get vaccinated only on or after 6 months and they can expose to the microbes causing pneumonia from their day one itself
- Practicing personal hygiene: Maintaining personal hygiene is another important factor that helps in protecting newborns from pneumonia. Wrap your hand around your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough. Wash your hands often and every time before feeding the baby. Make sure who all dealing with the baby follow these measures as well
- Ensure smoke-free environment: Secondary smoking poses several potential health risks for the newborns. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to cigarette smoke, even for short periods, get respiratory issues more often and are more susceptible to pneumonia. Also, avoid all the circumstances that may lead to indoor air pollution
- Keep the baby well nourished: Exclusive breastfeeding is the most excellent way to boost the newborn’s developing immune system. The breast milk contains antibodies produced by the mother’s body against several infection-causing microbes. This helps the newborn to prevent infections, even when his or her immune system is not fully developed yet
- Take measures to make the labor and delivery unproblematic: Try to avoid the chances of inhalation of amniotic fluid and meconium by the baby during delivery. Take measures to minimize the duration of the labor
- Keep away the newborn from sicks: Never let people with any type of infection come near the newborns. Several strains of microbes which also cause other infections are able to trigger pneumonia or conditions that could lead to pneumonia in newborns
- Keep baby’s stuff clean: Regularly wash or steam the baby’s stuff, like pacifiers, toys, and feeding bottle
As already mentioned, the signs of pneumonia are non-specific in newborns. Therefore, any newborn with sudden onset of respiratory distress or other signs of illness should test for pneumonia.
When Are Newborns More At Risk To Catch Pneumonia?
The newborns are more at risk to contract pneumonia when-
- The membrane ruptures more than six hours before delivery. This increases the chances of the baby to inhale the amniotic fluid
- If the baby comes out after a long land complicated labor. More time in birth canal means more chances to get exposed to the microbes in the birth canal
- The baby is born way before the due date
How Soon Does A Baby Could Catch Pneumonia?
The onset of pneumonia in newborns can happen as early as within a few hours of birth (early onset)to any time after seven days of birth (late onset).
Did you like the blog on how to protect your newborn from pneumonia? Share your views and feedback in the comments section below.
| Feb 01, 2018
useful info for pregnant women on the signs ,symptoms and steps to protect a newborn from pneumonia . thanks for sharing.
| Nov 22, 2017
DO’s for you if your child is suffering from Pneumonia: Visit your doctor at the earliest. Give treatment on time as advised Keep your child warm Wash your hands before and after touching the child Continue breastfeeding DON’Ts for you if your child is suffering from Pneumonia Don’t panic. Don’t self-medicate. Don’t ignore the danger signs. Don’t touch the child with contaminated hands Don’t stop feeding It is important for you to know that Pneumonia is the biggest baby killer. In fact, according to studies, it mainly affects babies that are less than 5 years old. This silent killer masks itself as a common cough and cold causing severe pulmonary distress and death. If your child is wheezing and is experiencing difficulty while breathing, it is best recommended that you consult a pediatrician or neonatologist at the earliest. Please be open to hospitalization or serious medical treatment.
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