Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Andy got pneumonia from aspirating food/ choking on food (aspiration pneumonia)

Andy has had food go down the wrong way (lightly choked on food) a few times in the last couple months. I hadn't thought much about it. Sometimes, Andy aspirates food/ inhales it into his lungs accidentally, because he's overly excited while eating. 

A few weeks ago, Andy was appearing a bit more tired than usual, and was being cozy. It wasn't like him to take naps any more, he never wants to slow down. However, he took a couple for two days in a row. I took a few pictures, because I wanted to show my husband how worn out Andy was. When he started showing a slight fever, I was worried he was coming down with something. He had not had a cold or flu or anything in over a year and no one was sick that we knew of.

The next morning, Andy awoke with a fever of 104 degrees and was very irritable. It was a Saturday, and we went straight up to urgent care. I suspected an ear infection. The nurse practitioner said his ears, nose and throat were clear. She told me she'd like to take a chest x-ray. I was shocked. 

She said, "Sometimes when I see a kid come in with an unexplained fever, and nothing else is wrong, they end up having pneumonia". I contemplated having the x-ray, and was against any unnecessary radiation. I asked what would happen if I didn't get the x-ray. She said if it was pneumonia, the fever would stay high and he would start looking worse. I could come back in 24 hours and observe the fever if I was unsure, but antibiotics couldn't be given unless pneumonia was confirmed. I decided to go ahead with the x-ray right then. 

I'm glad we did, because he had pneumonia in his lower right lung. They ordered ten days of antibiotics. He continued to have a slight fever the entire course. At his follow up visit, they told me to bring him back in if his fever went above 100.3. They felt he appeared happy and wasn't tired and worn out anymore. They didn't repeat the x-ray, because they felt it unnecessary as he was "clearly on the mend". The doctor told me there was an "infiltrate" on the x-ray, and that it was most likely aspiration pneumonia. 

I recalled other parents of children unable to swallow food saying that their kids would get pneumonia whenever they tried to work on swallowing with their therapist. Some of them felt it wasn't worth it to keep re-visiting trying to eat food orally, when the repercussion would be pneumonia. A lot of the kids had to go through bad hospitalizations because of it as well. Luckily, Andy did not have to be hospitalized, and is doing great!