air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze. In addition, pneumonia may spread through blood, especially during and shortly after birth.Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. It is caused by a number of infectious agents including viruses, bacteria and fungi. Pneumonia can be spread in a number of ways. The viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child's nose or throat, can infect the lungs if they are inhaled. They may also spread via
Preventing pneumonia in children is an essential component of a strategy to reduce child mortality. Immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough (pertussis) is the most effective way to prevent pneumonia.
Adequate nutrition is key to improving children's natural defences, starting with exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. In addition to being effective in preventing pneumonia, it also helps to reduce the length of the illness if a child does become ill.
Addressing environmental factors such as indoor air pollution (by providing affordable clean indoor stoves, for example) and encouraging good hygiene in crowded homes also reduces the number of children who fall ill with pneumonia.