Chest infections are painful and frustrating for both children and parents. They can affect your child’s breathing, make them feel unwell, and increase their risk of developing more severe complications like pneumonia.
If you are in Manchester, you might wonder if your child is at risk of getting a chest infection. Chest infections are common in children, and most cases can be treated by a chest infection specialist Manchester. But how do you notice if your child has one? And what should you do if they do?
This article will tell you everything you need to know about chest infections in children. What are they, how are they treated, and what do parents need to look out for? Read on to find out.
What causes chest infections in children?
Chest infections are caused by a group of viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause the mucus lining in your child’s chest to swell up. This makes it challenging for them to breathe properly, which causes them to cough up this mucus as they try to clear their airways.
The flu virus is the most common cause of a chest infection, but many other things can also lead to infection. Bacteria such as pneumococcal pneumonia, mycoplasma pneumonia, and pertussis can all cause a chest infection, as can viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
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What are the symptoms of a chest infection?
Children who have chest infections should be taken to a pneumonia specialist Manchester. You should look for symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and pain in the chest.
If your child has a chest infection, they may also have cold symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing. If you’re worried about your child’s symptoms, it’s best to talk to their doctor or call NHS 111.
Are There Lifestyles and Situations That Can Make Children More Susceptible to Having Chest Infections?
Unlike adults, children are more likely to get chest infections if they have a cold or the flu. This is because their immune systems haven’t fully developed and aren’t as strong as adults.
Because of this, children can be more prone to chest infections, and you should take extra care if they have a cold or the flu.
The following lifestyles and situations can also make children more susceptible to having chest infections:
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Living with Smokers
Smoking among children is a significant cause of chest infections. Tobacco smoke can irritate the child’s lungs and make them more vulnerable to illness. If you smoke around your children, you should try to quit.
If you can’t quit, make sure you don’t smoke when they are around or in the same room as you. You should also try to avoid smoking as much as possible around them. This will help protect their lungs from any harmful effects of tobacco.
Living in Crowded Conditions
Children who live in crowded conditions, like those in low-income housing or homeless shelters, are more likely to get sick than other children. They are also more likely to have asthma and other breathing problems.
If you live in a cramped environment with many people, try to clean it up as much as possible. This will help reduce the chance that your child gets an infection from someone else’s germs.
Poor hygiene is another common cause of illness in children. This includes not washing their hands, not changing diapers often enough, and not cleaning dirty surfaces like toys or highchairs where your child puts their mouth.
Genetic abnormalities can cause asthma. If one of your parents has asthma, there’s an increased chance that you will too. When this happens, it’s called a genetic predisposition to asthma. If you have a family history of allergies or asthma, talk to your doctor about testing for these conditions.
This will ensure your child is on the right track to managing asthma.
Genetic testing is also available for specific genes associated with asthma and allergies. If you have asthma or allergies and want to know if your child has inherited them from you, talk to your doctor about genetic testing.
Exercising vigorously in smoggy areas
Children, who exercise vigorously in smoggy areas, like outside during a high pollution day, are at an increased risk of asthma. Even if they are not exercising vigorously, breathing in polluted air can cause inflammation and damage their lungs.
Limit your child’s time outdoors on high-pollution days if you live in an area with poor air quality. If possible, stay indoors with the windows closed and run an air purifier that removes both particulate matter and gaseous pollutants. If you need to go outside, take precautions such as wearing a mask or avoiding strenuous activity.
Having a poor diet
Our diet has a considerable impact on our health and well-being. A poor diet can increase your child’s risk of asthma, especially if exposed to other risk factors. A healthy diet should incorporate foods high in fibre, low in saturated fat and trans fats, and no added salt (sodium).
Try to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their meals, as these will provide them with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Is a Chest Infection Contagious in Children?
Chest infections are one of the most common causes of cough. They can be caused by various viruses, bacteria, or other germs that cause inflammation in your child’s airways.
These infections can be contagious if they are localised in the upper respiratory system, such as the nose or throat. However, they are not considered to be highly contagious if they affect the lower respiratory system (bronchial tubes).
Regardless, your child may still pass the infection on to others if they are not careful. If your kid has a chest infection, you should keep them away from other children until a doctor has cleared them.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If your baby is under five years of age, seek medical advice if they have a cough that lasts longer than three weeks. If your child is over five years old and has a cough that lasts for over two weeks, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Chest infections are not something to take lightly. They can cause serious health problems in children if the infection is not treated quickly and effectively.
Children with chest infections can also have fevers of 38.9 or higher and should be seen by a doctor. If you think your kid has a chest infection, it’s best to call your doctor first and explain the symptoms so that they can advise you on what to do next.
What Treatment Will Your Child Need?
Doctors will first listen to your child’s breathing and ensure that the lungs are clear. They will also check for fever, a sign of infection, and look for other symptoms like coughing and fast breathing. If the fluid is in the lungs or there is increased coughing over time, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the chest infection.
The doctor may also give the child fluids and medicine to help with the coughing and discomfort. It’s important to keep giving your child fluids even when they are no longer vomiting because dehydration can be dangerous for young children.