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Pediatricians see increase in pneumonia cases

As the cold and flu season continues, local pediatricians are reporting an increasing number of pneumonia cases.

“As most know, pneumonia is usually a complication of influenza,” said Dr. Gabrielle Baldwin of Covington Pediatrics. “However, in the cases that I’m seeing, that’s not the case – these children have not had the flu.”

Baldwin said last week alone, she treated six cases of pneumonia.

“The thing you have to watch for in children is cases of cough and fever, especially a high fever,” she said. “If your child has both of those symptoms, they really need to be evaluated by a physician.”

Treatment, she said, depends on the type of pneumonia case.

“You have bacterial cases and viral cases,” she said. “If it’s bacterial, it must be treated with antibiotics. If it’s viral, you have to let the body handle it because it is a virus and just treat the symptoms.”

In Opp, Dr. Bhagwan Bang of South Alabama Pediatrics said in addition to pneumonia, he is seeing a growing number of asthma cases.

“In this cold weather, that’s not uncommon,” Bang said.

As for the “regular” flu, both Bang and Baldwin said both seasonal and H1N1 cases are being seen and treated at their offices and luckily neither are “widespread.”

“Most of what we’re seeing is seasonal flu, so people should be reminded that vaccines – both for seasonal flu and H1N1 – are still available,” Baldwin said.