Autor NN Team Data: 06.10.2009

Bronchopneumonia is an inflammation of the lung, especially of one of its parts, and may be caused by pathogens (viruses, bacteria). This is one of the two types of pneumonia, depending on the distribution of the infection. 

Unlike the lobar pneumonia which affects an entire pulmonary lobe (a section), the bronchopneumonia affects the bronchioles (little bronchi), which are the airways to the lungs, and the infection is distributed in small spots on the lung surface. With time, bronchopneumonia may turn into lobar pneumonia, because the infection progresses and extends to the whole pulmonary lobe. 
Bronchopneumonia is more likely a symptom of one disease, the infection with a pathogen. This pathogen may be a pneumococcus, a staphylococcus, E.coli or even Chlamydia. The Streptococcus is more specific to the lobar pneumonia. 
The disease may be taken from another patient, through the air or by direct contact, according to the type of pathogen, or from the hospital (nocosomial infection). In the last case, the infection may be more severe and harder to be treated as the bacteria are more resistant to the antibiotics. Any child might develop pneumonia, but the most exposed one are the one with a weakened immune system, because a treatment or a chronic disease. The bronchioles are more sensitive to children who suffer from asthma, and that's why they develop bronchopneumonia more often. 
The most frequent case in babies, is the bronchiolitis, an infection of the bronchioles, which may turn into pneumonia. Usually, the symptoms of bronchiolitis disappear in 7-10 days, but the baby must be supervised carefully in order to notice the lips and nails cyanosis timely. 

Symptoms of bronchopneumonia may vary a lot, according to the severity of the disease and to the pathogen that caused it. The most often symptoms are: 
  • Breathing difficulties, with superficial and fast breathing. 
  • Chest pains 
  • Cough with yellow-greenish sputum 
  • Fever 
  • Headaches 
  • Muscles pains 
In order to establish a treatment, the doctor must determine the pathogen which caused the infection of the lungs. If it's about a bacterium or a streptococcus, he will prescribe antibiotics. In this case, it's important to give your child the complete prescribed treatment, although the symptoms improve before you finish it. If the disease is caused by a virus, all you can do is wait and ensure the comfort to your child, with symptomatic treatment (paracetamol for fever, Bromhexine for expectoration, etc). Use antifungal drugs to treat the fungal pneumonia. Use only the drugs that your doctor prescribed. Don't give antibiotics to your child if he has viral pneumonia. You would only torture him more with aggressive drugs, which may cause other problems (diarrhea, candidiasis). 

Read the English version of this article: Bronchopneumonia