Pneumonia is a term used to describe inflammation of the lungs. It is usually caused by a bacterial, viral or parasitic infection. Pneumonia often begins with cold-like symptoms and gradually worsens.
Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, wheezing, chest pain, tiredness, muscle pain, headache, and shortness of breath.
Children with pneumonia may experience weight loss due to lack of appetite and increased energy expenditure due to the limited amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Therefore, it is important to provide your child with hhigh-caloriecontent with foods rich in nutritious proteins to maintain their nutritional status and prevent complications.
The right fluids are vital for a child with pneumonia. Make sure your child drinks clear liquids and does not become dehydrated. Babies under 12 months should continue to take breast milk or formula. If your child is one year of age or older, then offer him whole milk.
Clear liquids include water, ice cubes, fruit juices, caffeine-free soft drinks, sports drinks, gelatin, and ice cream popsicles. In particular, tea, lemonade, apple juice and warm chicken broth help to relax the airways and eliminate mucus. Eating and drinking can make your child easy to get tired of, so offer small amounts of food and fluids more often than usual.
High Calorie and Protein Diet
According to the American Dietetic Association, a diet high in calories and protein benefits your child by giving energy to the body, avoiding weight loss, helping your body heal and promote a healthy immune system. Try giving at least six meals and snacks each day to increase your calorie intake during pneumonia. Give your child high-calorie beverages such as whole milk, 100% juice, and regular soda. You can also add protein powder to your child’s drinks.
Choose foods high in fat and high in protein such as meat, poultry and fish, eggs, beans, high-fat cheeses, and substitute shakes of foods and bars. You can also increase calories by adding oil, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings and peanut butter to various foods.
Fruits, Vegetables and Other Sources of Nutrients
Fruits, vegetables and grains provide a variety of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, apples and melon. Whole grains such as breakfast cereals, whole wheat bread, pasta, and rice provide your child with selenium and zinc, which can help protect you from free radical damage.
Dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese and eggs provide the body with probiotics and vitamin E. While probiotics help restore the natural bacterial balance in the body, vitamin E functions as a powerful antioxidant. Again, increase your child’s calorie intake by adding cheese, butter or oil to vegetables, offering vegetables with high-calorie starch and choosing canned fruits in syrup instead of water.
University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a number of possible remedies. Honey is an effective over-the-counter remedy to relieve cough and sore throat. Add honey to hot herbal tea or water for a relaxing drink. However, honey is not considered safe for children under 1. Quercetin is an antioxidant that offers you fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors.
Other herbs known to relieve respiratory symptoms and open ducts are mint, eucalyptus and thyme. Consult your pediatrician before using an herbal supplement for your child with pneumonia.
Staying well hydrated is an important aspect of pneumonia recovery. The University Of Maryland Medical Center recommends drinking 6-10 glasses of liquid, such as water, juice, broth and mild tea, per day. While still controversial, many people believe that dairy products increase the production of phlegm. If you find that milk consumption worsens your symptoms, drink soy, rice or almond milk instead. Avoid alcohol and highly caffeinated drinks, such as energy drinks and coffee, which can interfere with rest.