Treatment of pneumonia
Severe pneumonia in children and adults is diagnosed if they exhibit the signs summarised earlier on. You should refer all patients with severe pneumonia immediately to the nearest higher health facility or hospital, where appropriate drugs can be prescribed by doctors or health officers.
For adults with non-severe pneumonia, give amoxicillin tablets, 500 mg three times a day for seven days. Here we remind you of the oral antibiotics you can give children with non-severe pneumonia without any other danger signs. The course of treatment is for five days with either co-trimoxazole (the preferred antibiotic drug), or if co-trimoxazole is not available, give amoxicillin. The doses of co-trimoxazole or amoxicillin depend on the age or weight of the child, and were summarised earlier in a table. Look back at it now, and then answer the following question.
Suppose you saw a three-year-old girl with non-severe pneumonia. What dose of co-trimoxazole syrup would you give this child, and for how many days?
She is between 12 months and five years, so you should give her 7.5ml (one and a half teaspoons) of co-trimoxazole syrup (containing 80 mg trimethoprim + 400 mg sulphamethoxazole), twice a day for five days.
Co-trimoxazole for HIV-positive children should be prescribed by doctors as prophylaxis against opportunistic infections with bacteria, viruses and fungi that cause pneumonia.
If a one-month-old child comes to you with symptoms of fever and a respiration rate of 70 breaths per minute, what should you do?
The child is less than two months old and may have pneumonia, so it is at high risk of serious complications (e.g. meningitis and death). Therefore, refer the baby immediately to the nearest higher health facility or hospital.