SARS in children occurs in 30% of all cases of pneumonia. This type of disease is characterized by a symptomatic picture, in which not only local symptoms are present, but also systemic ones. Recognizing atypical pneumonia can be difficult, especially since it is also divided into two subspecies – chlamydial and mycoplasma.
Symptoms of atypical pneumonia differ depending on which bacteria are causing the disease. The table shows typical signs for each of the lesion subspecies.
|A type of atypical pneumonia||Symptoms|
|Mycoplasma||dry paroxysmal cough;hoarseness of voice;defeat of the throat and nasopharynx without pronounced rhinitis;disruption of the digestive tract;an allergic rash on the body;with a strong cough, foam appears from the mouth with streaks of blood;fever with increased temperature;pain in the chest area.|
|Chlamydial||rhinitis;myalgia;joint pain;temperature within subfebrile, in acute form of the disease – 38-39 degrees;inflammation of the cervical lymph nodes;headache;weakness;sputum production when coughing.|
Before the onset of active manifestations in pathogenesis, an incubation period is allocated. In chlamydial infection, it is up to 5 days, in mycoplasma infection – 3 days. In case of infection with mycoplasmas, fever and severe cough develop already in the first week, and if chlamydia enters the lungs, vivid symptoms may not appear until a month after infection.
Causes of the disease
The main prerequisites for the development of SARS are weakened immunity and contact with an infected object or person. Both chlamydia and mycoplasma persist in the external environment for a long time. A child can catch the disease as follows:
- airborne droplets from an infected person when talking or just being around;
- in kindergarten or school when using other people’s toys, stationery, and especially personal hygiene items;
- through the door handles;
- from the mother through the amniotic fluid or in places where birds congregate (applies only to chlamydia).
The causative agents of atypical pneumonia are bacteria that can enter the body through the mucous membranes. Often they cause damage not only to the lungs, but also to other tissues and organs.
The greatest risk of infection occurs during the autumn-winter period. Children bring the disease from school and preschool institutions, especially if they have weakened immunity. The group most susceptible to infection includes children under 5 years of age, since the protective mechanisms at this age have not yet been formed.
When the first signs of illness appear, the child must be taken to a pediatric therapist. The physician should conduct a physical examination and take a history, but it is not worth hoping for a differentiation of the disease at this stage. SARS does not have specific features by which it can be quickly distinguished from other types of lung lesions. When examining a doctor, only the following symptoms can alert:
- weakening of breathing, coupled with moist wheezing (with mycoplasmas);
- hard breathing, dry or moist wheezing (chlamydia).
Often, the child is sent for additional examination after an incorrect diagnosis. First, the patient is treated with standard antibiotics for pneumonia, and after the selected drugs are ineffective, an additional examination is carried out.
In order to accurately determine the causative agent of the disease and choose the right medicines, you need to go through instrumental checks and pass tests for decoding in laboratory conditions.
The optimal way of modern diagnostics is chest x-ray. The pictures show the manifestations of both types of infections. With mycoplasmosis, the bronchial and vascular pattern changes, reticular darkening appears. Chlamydia is characterized by focal inflammation on both sides of the lungs.
Additionally, serotyping is performed to determine the stage of the disease and differentiate the pathogen. The preferred methods are ELISA or MYTH. Results can be obtained within 1-2 days after taking the material. If the drugs initially selected as a result of a comprehensive diagnosis are not suitable, a cultural analysis has to be done. It includes collecting sputum to determine the sensitivity of bacteria to different types of antibiotics. The duration of the analysis is at least 10 days, so they resort to it in extreme cases.
Features of treatment in children
Chlamydia and mycoplasma are removed from the body by the same groups of antibiotics – macrolides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines. However, the specific drugs differ. With mycoplasma infection, Azithromycin is more effective, with chlamydial infection – Clarithromycin.
Children are sensitive and do not tolerate long-term antibiotic therapy. In this regard, it is better to use macrolides for the treatment of SARS in children: they are more effective, and also have a smaller spectrum of side effects. The main feature of the recovery period is constant monitoring by a doctor. The general course of therapy is on average 7-10 days.
Additionally, symptomatic drugs are used: remedies for headaches, allergies, and anti-fever. They should also be selected based on the recommendations of a doctor.
During the therapy, the child is assigned to bed rest and home stay; it is forbidden to go out and even more so to visit educational institutions. It is necessary to avoid eating cold foods and drinking, taking vitamins and not getting into drafts. The better the baby’s immunity, the faster the recovery will take place.
The main task of doctors is to prevent the aggravation of clinical symptoms, as they can threaten the life of the child. It is also very important not to let the disease acquire a chronic course. The permanent form leads to the development of bronchial asthma.
Doctors give only general recommendations for the prevention of SARS, since there is no specific vaccine against the disease. To protect the child from lung damage, it is necessary to teach him the basic rules of hygiene. The kid should use only personal cutlery, towels, toothbrushes and napkins. He must learn these rules before entering school or kindergarten, since it is in these institutions that the risk of infection with bacteria is high.
It is very important to wean preschool children from taking toys and various objects in their mouths. This undermines the immune system, since the body has to constantly fight with various microorganisms, and often leads to the development of infection.
During periods of increased risk of an epidemic, it is necessary to supply the child’s body with additional vitamins. Parents should make sure that the child takes immunity medications or multivitamin supplements during the fall, winter and spring. The immune system is also influenced by the sleep and rest regime, the nature of the diet, and stress. You should protect your child from negative experiences, teach him to go to bed on time, eat balanced and regularly.
If a high risk of contracting pneumonia is reported in the region of residence, it is better to visit public places with a child under 5 only with a special protective bandage.