Respiratory diseases


Paediatric respiratory diseases

Children are susceptible to a range of respiratory diseases such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia and asthma. These can be exacerbated at different times of the year.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is inflammation of the airways. Pneumonia can be of viral, bacterial or fungal origin and range from mild to severe symptoms.

What are the signs of pneumonia?

Signs of pneumonia are similar to symptoms of the flu but can be more severe.

Symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Chest pain that worsens when one coughs
  • Fast breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever & chills
  • Difficulty breathing
What does the diagnosis involve?

Dr Vahed performs a chest exam and uses a stethoscope to check for abnormal sounds within the lungs. Cracking or bubbling sounds in the lungs suggest pneumonia.

Other diagnostic tests include:

  • Chest x-ray: A chest x-ray pinpoints the location of the infection, but it cannot identify the pathogen that's responsible for the respiratory illness.
  • Sputum test: Fluid from the lungs (sputum) can be extracted for analysis. This can be difficult to obtain.
What does treatment involve?

Dr Vahed prescribes antibiotics to treat bacterial pneumonia. It takes time to treat pneumonia as the doctor still needs to identify the type of bacteria responsible for the respiratory infection.

What’s bronchitis?

Bronchitis occurs when the inside of the bronchial tubes becomes inflamed. Thick, discoloured mucous is a sign of bronchitis. Acute and chronic bronchitis are two different types of bronchitis. Acute bronchitis lasts for ten days, but chronic bronchitis extends over some time and is common in patients who have emphysema or asthma.

What are the signs of bronchitis?

White, yellow or green sputum is expected. Mucous may also contain small amounts of blood.

  • Lethargy
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
What does the diagnosis involve?

Typically, acute bronchitis disappears even without treatment. However, Dr Vahed performs a physical exam to check for a wheeze and cough. Culture and blood tests determine the type of bacterial infection that’s responsible for respiratory infections.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment depends on whether a viral or bacterial infection is the cause of bronchitis. For bacterial bronchitis, Dr Vahed prescribes antibiotics to treat the infection. But for viral bronchitis, the paediatrician will formulate a treatment plan to manage symptoms in children.

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