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Lung diseases

Bacterial Pneumonia in 4 Year Old

09/22/2005

Question:

My grand daughter is 4 years old, her mother smokes. Ever since she was born she has had a sickness of the lungs...In all, she has had 4 seizures that put her in the hospital emergency room. She last went to the emergency room with a hight temperature, then the seizure... This is how it always happens. The doctor said it was Bacterial Pnemonia...She is in my care now and I give her the medicine prescribed and I have been giving her children`s Motrin every 4 hours and non asprin every 6 hours, so she doesn`t have another seizure...Is this a typical case with Bacterial Pnemonia, or is something else going on here? I`ve been thumping on her back to see if I can bring up some flem, and it has been working, she is all congested up...She has been like this since she was born always congested...I worry about her, I hope you can give me some suggestion to whether we can make her well faster with some other cure? Is this a walking Pnemonia? Or a chronic illness? Thank You, Grandma

Answer:

It is not necessarily unusual that your granddaughter has a seizure when she gets a high fever.  These so-called "febrile seizures" can happen, on occasion.  However, they should not require ongoing use of Motrin or other medications to prevent the fevers.

It is also not uncommon for young children to have recurrent illnessness, although they are NOT usually bacterial pneumonia.  These illnesses are the typical "colds," with a runny nose, small fever and perhaps a cough or sore throat.  Young children may have 8-10 of these a year.

This being said, it sounds like your granddaughter should see a lung doctor who takes care of children (a pediatric pulmonologist).  If she has bacterial pneumonia that keeps coming back, there may be something that causes it that can be fixed.  It would be important to see her X-rays when she is sick and when she is healthy.  It would be important to see a doctor that specializes in the lungs so that any additional tests that may be needed could be done to find out if she has a chronic illness.  In the mean time, the Motrin should be used minimally (no more frequently than every 6 hours, and not on an ongoing basis).  Anything that can be done to minimize her exposure to smoke would also be helpful.

Thank you for your questions.  To schedule an appointment through Childrens Hospital to see a pediatric pulmonologist, please call 636-2601. Pulmonologists are located downtown and in the surrounding communities.

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Response by:

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati