Early Diagnosis Crucial to Preventing Deaths From Pneumonia —Paediatrician

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A Consultant Paediatrician at the Isolo General Hospital Lagos, Dr. Mary Akintomide, says that early diagnosis of pneumonia in children under five years is crucial to preventing fatalities.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos, Akintomide described pneumonia as an acute respiratory infection that affects the human lungs, thus making breathing difficult and painful.

She said that one in every five children dies globally from pneumonia every year.

The paeditrician, however, noted that the health condition was preventable and treatable with improved sanitation, vaccines, and antibiotics.

According to her, pneumonia is a dangerous infection with a lot of complications if not detected early and properly treated.

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“Pneumonia is one of the biggest killer diseases of children under five years globally.

“Early diagnosis, intervention and awareness to protect, prevent and treat pneumonia are, however, important in combating the deadly infection.

“Saving children from pneumonia requires urgent attention that includes recognising the danger signs such as coughing and difficulty in breathing and swallowing,’’ she said.

She stressed that the impact of pneumonia could be most potent among the rural communities, but could be prevented with simple interventions.

Akintomide said stated that there were effective vaccines against the two most common causes of pneumonia, which include Haemophilus Influenzae type B and Streptococcus Pneumonia.

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The pediatrician advised nursing mothers to always breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months to help in protecting the children from pneumonia and other infectious diseases.

She added that children and adults should be immunised against the deadly disease while parents should consult their doctors during any outbreak of the infection.

Akintomide listed good nutrition, hand washing, sanitation, hygiene, cross ventilation in homes, environments free of pollution and fumes as factors that could help to prevent pneumonia in adults and children.

She advised parents to always give their children foods rich in vitamins to boost their immune system, saying that findings had shown that pneumonia was common among those with weak immune systems.

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(NAN)

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