Recently, thanks to the successes of modern medicine, the number of pneumonias in the world has gradually decreased, however, this problem remains urgent and very important in newborns: approximately 0.5% of full-term babies and the 10-15% of premature babies diagnose this disease.
All these children undergo intensive treatment in the hospital, which undoubtedly concerns parents and raises legitimate questions about other actions and consequences of the disease.
So, what is pneumonia and how is it?
Pneumonia is an infectious inflammatory disease of the lungs that arises as an independent disease or as a complication of a disease.
Depending on the time and circumstances of the penetration of the infection into the lungs of the newborn, different variants of pneumonia are distinguished:
- Congenital transplacental: pathogens penetrate from the mother to the fetus through the placenta
- Prenatal intrauterine: pathogens enter the lungs of the fetus from the amniotic fluid.
- Intranatal: caused by the microorganisms of the mother that came to the baby during the process of delivery as it passes through the birth canal.
- Postnatal pneumonia, when the causal agent of the infection reaches the baby after birth. This can happen in the hospital, nosocomial pneumonia or already at home, pneumonia acquired in the community.
- Secondary pneumonia, which occurs as a result of the aspiration syndrome (when a child ingests amniotic fluid during inspiration). Since the amniotic fluid contains many products of the vital activity of the baby, pneumonia has a “special status” among doctors and is usually treated in a prolonged and hard manner.
Symptoms and manifestations of pneumonia.
With intrauterine pneumonia, children are usually born asphyxiated (in other words, with signs of lack of oxygen). Its skin is bluish with a pale gray or earthy gray tint.
The cry is weak.
In some sick babies, the sucking and swallowing reflexes are disturbed (ie, when feeding a baby, the baby spits, refuses the breast (or bottle), slowly and for a long time eats a small amount of food).
Respiratory failure (shortness of breath during feeding and at rest) and intoxication phenomena (there may be an increase in temperature in babies born at term for 1-2 days, but more often the temperature is normal or low).
When breathing, the child can “moan”, sometimes the foam comes out of the mouth (not all babies can cough, and doctors consider the release of foam as a cough).
There is almost always abdominal distension, which is explained by the slow functioning of the intestines.
Duration of the disease and treatment.
In severe cases and in the presence of complications, the baby spends the first time in the intensive care unit without a mother, and then, when the condition stabilizes and does not cause concern, in the sharing room with the mother.
The basis of the treatment is antibacterial therapy, which is carried out, if necessary, up to 3 weeks. Rest therapy is symptomatic.
Not all babies can maintain their body temperature independently, therefore, it may be necessary to stay in the incubator at the beginning.
In addition, depending on the severity of the child’s condition, assistance may be required to feed the child (tube feeding or feeding with expressed milk).
Consequences of pneumonia.
The course of intrauterine pneumonia is always serious, the mortality rate is relatively high, because it is very important to obtain all the treatment, even though the condition of the child has improved.
The prognosis of the disease depends on the severity of the condition and the presence of concomitant diseases.
Therefore, we have found that pneumonia in a newborn child is always a very serious and complex disease that requires attention and patience from both the medical staff and the parents.