Alternate Names : Bronchopneumonia, Community-Acquired Pneumonia, Pneumonitis
Pneumonia refers to acute inflammation of the lungs. It is one of the most serious infectious diseases. The condition becomes complicated if both the lungs are affected. It is called double pneumonia in common parlance.
The World Health Organization has categorized this disease as a leading killer of infants and children, particularly in developing countries of Asia and Africa. In a ‘study conducted by researches, it has been estimated that pneumonia is a contributory cause for 20 per cent of acute diarrhea diseases, 18 per cent of gross malnutrition and 17 per cent of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. It has also been estimated that 16 per cent of the deaths among children is caused by pneumonia.
There are two varieties of pneumonia, broncho-pneumonia and lobar pneumonia. The first is the common form seen in children under two years. The second is rare among infants, but is common in older children. Lobar pneumonia is far less fatal in children than in adults. It usually pursues a short and sharp course and terminates generally within a week.
Bronchi-pneumonia pursues a course varying from 10 to 20 days or longer. It terminates gradually, and not suddenly like lobar pneumonia. The onset may be abrupt, but is often gradual
Pneumonia Sign and Symptoms
Most cases of pneumonia begin with cold in the head or throat The child-patient generally feels chilly, shivers, has difficulty in breathing and sharp pain in the chest This may be followed by a cough with pinkish sputum which may later become brownish. The patient usually suffers from fever and headache. In more serious cases, the sputum may be of rusty color. In young children,. the disease may cause delirium and convulsions. Most children feel very miserable and sweat profusely. The temperature may rise to 105’F and pulse may go up to 150 beats per minutes. A common complication of all kinds of pneumonia is pleurisy.
Causes of Pneumonia
The disease is caused by various types of germs such as streptococcus, staphylococcus and pneu-nococcus varieties. At times, certain viruses are also responsible for the disease. Other causes of this disease are fungal infection, irritation by worms, inhaling foreign matter, irritant dust or noxious gases and vapors such as ammonia, nitrogen dioxide or cadmium.
The real cause of pneumonia, however, is the toxic condition of the body, especially of the lungs and air passages resulting from wrong feeding. Children with healthy tissues and strong vital force are unlikely to catch the disease. It is only when the system is clogged with toxic matter and the vitality is low that the germs of pneumonia invade a child.
The child-patient should be kept in bed in a well-ventilated room. He should not be given any solid foods and he should be encouraged to take large amount of fluids, especially fruit and vegetable juices diluted in water, for first few days of the treatment. Fruits such as orange, mossombi, apple, pineapple and grapes and, vegetables like carrots and tomatoes may be used for juices. The patient should also be given plenty of warm water frequently. It is necessary to change the position of the child-patient quite often.
Home remedies for the treatment of pneumonia
1. Fenugreek Seeds
During the early acute stage of this disease, herbal tea made from fenugreek (methi) seeds will help the body to produce perspiration, dispel toxicity and shorten the period of fever. It can be taken by the child-patient up to two cups daily, half a cup each time The quantity can be reduced as condition improves. To improve flavor, a few drops of lemon juice can be mixed in it.
2. Get lots of rest. For example, have someone else cook and do light work around the house.
3. Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.
4. Turpentine Oil
Pain in the chest can be relieved by rubbing oil of turpentine over the rib cage and wrapping warm cotton wool over it. Three or four hot fomentations can also be used for the same purpose. Inhalation of steam will be useful for relieving cough.
4. Control your fever by home remedies.