What is Facts for Life?
Using Facts for Life
Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health
Child Development and Early Learning
Nutrition and Growth
Coughs, Colds and More Serious Illnesses
Emergencies: Preparedness and Response
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Coughs, colds and more serious illnesses
Sometimes, coughs are signs of a serious problem. A child who is breathing rapidly or with difficulty might have pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. This is a life-threatening disease. The child needs immediate treatment from a trained health worker, who can also provide a referral to a health facility.
Most coughs, colds, fevers, sore throats and runny noses end without requiring medication. But sometimes a cough and a fever are signs of pneumonia, which needs to be treated by a trained health worker.
If a trained health worker provides antibiotics to treat the pneumonia, it is important to follow the instructions and give the child all the medicine for as long as the instructions say, even if the child seems better.
Many children die of pneumonia at home because their parents or other caregivers do not realize the seriousness of the illness and the need for immediate medical care. Millions of child deaths from pneumonia can be prevented if:
The child should be taken immediately to a trained health worker or clinic if any of the following symptoms are present:
Health-care providers have a responsibility to provide parents and other caregivers with this information on the health risks for a child with pneumonia and the preventive steps and treatments to take.