Management of pneumonia in the child aged 0 to 8 weeks
The group of children with the highest mortality from pneumonia is the group aged 8 weeks and younger. This group of infants is more likely to present with non-specific signs of disease, and the pneumonia is caused by a wider spectrum of organisms. For these reasons, infants aged ≤8 weeks have to be carefully assessed, taking into account the characteristics peculiar to this age. Due to the seriousness of the pneumonia, they are only classified into three categories: very severe pneumonia, severe pneumonia and cough or cold. All infants aged ≤8 weeks diagnosed with severe or very severe pneumonia must be hospitalised, as they require parenteral antibiotics for at least 8 days and need careful monitoring. The monitoring needs to be adapted, as they are more likely to have problems with body temperature and serum glucose control. Careful plans have to be formulated to ensure that these infants recover fully and are integrated into the well baby clinics. In the triage of sick children, it is those aged ≤8 weeks who should receive the most urgent attention. © 2005 The Union.