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Treating pneumonia in children

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Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition involving the lungs. Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is defined as pneumonia acquired by a healthy child outside the hospital usually presenting with a cough and fever.1,2 It has an annual incidence of up to 40 per 1000 children aged ≤ five years in Europe and the USA.1,2

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are one of the common reasons why a health professional is consulted for a child and accounts for about 4 per cent ofdeaths annually in children aged 0 - 14 years in England and Wales.1

Although for the purpose of clinical description the airways are described as upper or lower airways, in clinical practice, a child can present with a combination of symptoms of stridor (inspiratory noise due to upper airway pathology) and cough and wheeze (suggestive of lower airway pathology).3

Seasonal variation is seen in RTIs with predominance in the winter season. This is possibly because of close contact in the household while staying indoors.1,2 Peak incidence has been reported in December and January with a three to five times higher incidence of pneumonia in comparison to August.

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