China’s pneumonia outbreak scares Indian parents, doctors share preventive tips for children

As China’s pneumonia outbreak storm sweeps through India, doctors are arming parents with crucial protective tips to safeguard children.

New Delhi: Pneumonia outbreak has stirred a storm in China and the scare wave did not take forever to reach India – parents and teachers are now concerned about the safety of children. While Chinese authorities have informed the WHO that the current outbreak is not caused by ‘unusual’ pathogens, there still is a sense of concern among many, especially parents. Amidst this, News9Live reached out to experts to get tips on what parents and children can do to stay safe from the upcoming strain, whether or not it reaches India.

Dr. Naveen Prakash Gupta, Neonatologist, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Delhi, spoke about the causes of pneumonia and also listed some preventive measures.

“Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In children, viral infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and bacterial infections such as streptococcus pneumoniae are common causes. Poor nutrition, inadequate living conditions and lack of access to health care increases the risk,” Dr Gupta explained.

Preventive Measures:

  1. Hygiene practices: Promoting regular hand washing, especially before meals and after using the toilet, helps prevent the spread of infectious agents.
  2. Breastfeeding: Providing breast milk to infants can boost their immune systems, thereby protecting against respiratory infections.

Ways to increase immunity for children:

  1. Nutrient-rich diet: Make sure children get a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support their immune systems.
  2. Adequate sleep: By following a healthy sleep routine it helps to support immune system function and overall well-being.
  3. Regular exercise: Encourage age-appropriate physical activities to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Susanta K Badatya MBBS , MD (Neonatology and Pediatrics) Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital- Moti Nagar, emphasied on the importance of vaccination of frontline workers and maintenance of respiratory health among all.

“As China’s pneumonia outbreak storm sweeps through India, doctors are arming parents with crucial protective tips to safeguard children. Vaccination stands as the frontline defense, with pediatricians strongly urging parents to ensure their children are up-to-date on pneumonia vaccines. These immunisations not only shield against prevalent strains but also mitigate the severity of symptoms,” Dr Badatya said.

“Hand hygiene is emphasised as a fundamental practice to curb transmission. Parents are advised to instill thorough handwashing routines in children, promoting the use of soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based sanitizers serve as a convenient alternative when traditional washing isn’t possible, contributing significantly to infection prevention. Respiratory health maintenance is pivotal, urging parents to prioritise well-ventilated living spaces and steer clear of secondhand smoke. Encouraging physical activity and a balanced diet further bolsters children’s immune systems, empowering them to better resist infections,” he added.

The expert also stressed the importance of not delaying seeking help if a child exhibits persistent cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or high fever.

Dr. Divya Singh, Senior Surgeon, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital listed the following tips for preventive care against pneumonia.

  1. Stay informed: It is imperative for parents and families to keep themselves abreast with the latest updates and follow guidelines and advisories issued by health authorities about the evolving situation.
  2. Hygiene practices: Basic hygiene habits such as regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is a simple yet effective measure to prevent the spread of infections.
  3. Mask up: Encourage your children to wear masks, especially in crowded or indoor settings. Ensure the masks fit snugly over their noses and mouths for optimal protection.
  4. Boost immunity: Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients to boost the immune system and ensure sufficient sleep for overall well-being. Consider consulting with a healthcare professional about appropriate supplements.
  5. Social distancing: Teach your children the importance of maintaining a safe distance from others, avoiding close contact, and refraining from sharing personal items. Explore remote learning options to minimize exposure.
  6. Seek medical advice: If your child exhibits symptoms such as cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, seek prompt medical attention, as early intervention is key for managing respiratory illnesses effectively.

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