A paediatric surgeon, Dr. Udochukwu Ezenwa, on Monday advised care givers, including parents, about the need to ensure that children were properly fed with balanced diet to enable them build sound immune system.
Ezenwa gave the advice in Abuja that proper feeding of a child would help them combat any kind of infection, including those that cause pneumonia.
The surgeon, who works with the University of Enugu Teaching Hospital, Enugu, explained that when a child is suspected to have pneumonia it is advisable that the child is treated in the hospital.
“When a child begins to have health challenges, he or she hardly feeds well and children easily succumb to lack of food.
“But if the child cannot eat orally and he’s under doctor’s observation, the doctor will be able to pass a tube through the child to enable him or her feed on liquid,” he said.
The surgeon said feeding for the child through “nasogastric tube’’ does not mean that all hope is lost on the patient.
According to him, nasogastric tube is a medical process involving the insertion of a plastic tube through the nose, past the throat and down into the stomach.
He said this method helps the child to feed without knowing the taste of the food since that could cause vomiting.
Ezenwa explained that if the child fails to feed, the immunity would continue to reduce while the sickness lasts, but building up the immunity could help the child to recover fast.
“Sometimes the child may be given oxygen to augment what goes into the system as well as combat some of the causative organisms, hence the need for adequate oxygen supply,” he said.
Ezenwa said the child may have catarrh, loss of appetite, high fever and cough, saying that all these can indicate early signs of pneumonia which requires early consultation for proper diagnosis and treatment.
He said that if the doctor is able to curtail some of the things which could predispose a child to pneumonia, prevention would be assured.
He also discouraged the use of electric fan to a very high degree as it could blow a lot of dust into the air and this carries bacteria.
The surgeon advised the public against self medication and buying of drugs off the shelf or from medicine stores, as such could endanger the life of a child.
He, therefore, called for personal hygiene, adequate hand washing and clean environment as imbibing these would guarantee prevention of pneumonia.