Lung foci, what they are and how they are treated

Who I am
Philippe Gloaguen
Author and references
Source: Shutterstock

Has your child been diagnosed with a lung outbreak? Despite the term very frightening mothers, in the vast majority these 'outbreaks' are overcome without particular problems by the child. Just keep the baby at home until he is completely healed, following the therapies and advice of the pediatrician.

To better understand what lung outbreaks are and how to deal with the problem, we talked about them , director of the Complex Operative Unit of Bronchopneumology at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in the city.


In this article: 

  • What are lung foci?
  • Why can a flu complicate lung infection?
  • How do you notice that there is a pulmonary complication?
  • How is it treated?
  • Aerosol with bronchodilators and cortisone as a cure. Because?
  • Practical advice for mothers and fathers.
Read also: Bronchitis in season

What are lung foci?

Pneumonia can be a complication - of the flu or upper respiratory tract infections - that affects the lungs and can be viral or bacterial in origin. True pneumonia occurs when the infection affects an entire lobe of the lung (ed. The lobes are sections of the lung; there are three on the right and two on the left); however, if the infection involves small areas of one or more lobes, it is called 'foci pneumonia'. Outbreaks are usually a less serious situation than pneumonia.

Read also: Coronavirus, 12 things to know

Why can a flu complicate lung infection?

There are two factors at play: one is thepathogen affecting the organism, which can be more or less aggressive; the second is it immune status where the organism is at that moment. This means that if two children are affected by the same pathogen, it may happen that one develops a simple rhino-pharyngitis, the other develops a pulmonary complication, because perhaps at that moment his immune system was already more vulnerable.

It is also a fact that there are children who are genetically stronger and others who are a little more frail, who get sick more easily and can be exposed to complications more easily, even if both outbreaks and actual pneumonia only occur in a small percentage of cases. There are also pathogens that more often can give rise to these problems: one is precisely H1N1, which, especially in the countries of the South of the world, has given a relatively high percentage of pneumonia.

Why is pneumonia still scary?

Especially for a legacy of the past: just think that, until antibiotics were discovered (which arrived in Del Paese in the 40s-50s), pneumonia could even be lethal. That is why our grandmothers still remember it as a very fearful disease. Unfortunately, in developing countries, pneumonia is still the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 (along with diarrhea), mainly due to the reduced availability of health resources. But with us, by now, pneumonia is a very treatable disease.

How do you notice that there is a pulmonary complication?

There are some signs parents need to pay attention to: if the fever remains high for more than three days, but especially if the child breathes more heavily, ie with faster and shorter breaths; in some cases you may notice a hollow on the rib cage or on the jugule, a sign of greater difficulty in breathing.

These symptoms are usually accompanied by a persistent cough and a general state of exhaustion and loss of appetite. Furthermore, if the lobes near the abdomen are affected, the child could also accuse stomach ache.

In the presence of such symptoms, it is advisable to have the child examined by the pediatrician, who, in case of doubt, could ask for confirmation of the diagnosis through an X-ray.

How is it treated?

Viral pneumonia can be cured simply with rest, a good diet complete with all nutrients (without forgetting fruit, especially the one rich in vitamin C, which is always a valid support for the immune system, both to prevent and to help fight infections!) and drinking enough, in order to thin the mucus and compensate for the losses due to the profuse sweating produced by the fever.

However, since it is difficult to distinguish viral from bacterial pneumonia, the pediatrician usually prescribes an immediate antibiotic therapy, usually oral (only in some cases intramuscular or intravenous punctures are required).

The treatment can last from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the extent of the infection. Both lung outbreaks and pneumonia are generally treated at home: hospitalization may be necessary only in the most serious cases, with complications.

Aereosol with bronchodilators and cortisone as a cure. Because?

Many times pediatricians, in the presence of 'outbreaks', prescribe aerosols with bronchodilators and cortisone plus, in some cases, systemic cortisone. Because?

"The 'foci' detected by an X-ray are not always the signal of pneumonia", answers Cutrera: "especially in a child suffering from asthmatic bronchitis, they are more often elements of deventilation and must be treated with a bronchodilator and, if there is dyspnea , even with systemic cortisone.

So then the pediatrician, knowing the clinical history of the child (for example if he has already suffered in the past from asthma attacks or wheezing), if he suspects an asthmatic bronchitis, he can decide to associate the antibiotic with a therapy with cortisone and bronchodilators ".

Practical advice for mothers and fathers

  • Sand the child is cold, it is better not to take him to the community. In the winter period, in which you spend all day indoors, even if the child is simply cold, it is prudent not to take him to kindergarten or school, both in order not to contribute to the spread of the virus to other children, and not to expose his immune system, already committed to fighting an infection, to attacks by other germs that may be present in the environment. Remember that all closed and crowded places, and especially school communities, are the ideal ground for the propagation of germs.

  • Nothing going out for a couple of weeks. If the pediatrician detects lung outbreaks, the child must be kept "covered" until complete recovery, especially if it is raining and cold: usually a couple of weeks are enough, but the pediatrician will evaluate the time necessary.

  • Always refer to your family pediatrician, a fundamental resource to avoid improper access to hospitals and any overly aggressive therapies, prescribed by those who do not know the child and family well.

Read also: Guide to cough in children: the various types of cough, the causes, natural remedies, drugs 11 PHOTOS

Influenza: 11 Ways To Relieve Your Baby's Symptoms

go to the gallery

Cold, cough, sore throat, earache and fever. Or vomiting and diarrhea. During the winter, children often get sick from influenza and non-influenza viruses. In most ...

  • pulmonary outbreak
  • influence
  • fever
  • cough
  • cold
  • bronchitis
  • pneumonia
  • creativity and children
  • 3-5 children years
add a comment of Lung foci, what they are and how they are treated
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.