KOMPAS.com – Acute respiratory infection (ARI) is a very common infectious disease in children.
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, ARI is often cited as one of the top 10 diseases in developing countries that affects infants and young children. Indonesia is one such country.
Also Read: 6 Ways to Prevent ISPA You Need to Know About
On average, 3–6 episodes of ARI occur in children under five years of age (DCAT, 2016) and 4 to 6 episodes (Lanata et al., 2014).
Results from the 2011 National Health Survey (SURKESNAS) showed that out of 100 babies who died, 28 were caused by ARI.
This disease can affect the upper and lower respiratory tract.
The upper respiratory tract consists of the nose, throat, pharynx, and larynx.
In this case, the lower respiratory tract includes the alveoli, bronchi, bronchioles, trachea, pleura and pleural cavity.
This article will further show the different causes of ARI in children.
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What causes ISPA in children?
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, ISPA is caused by 300 types of bacteria and viruses. In addition, air pollution can also cause ISPA.
Quoting Agnesia Vidyarati’s book Infectious Diseases (2001), some common ARI-causing organisms include the following:
- Adenovirus is a virus that can cause colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
- Rhinovirus is a virus that causes the common cold.
- Pneumococci are bacteria that can cause meningitis and pneumonia.
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Meanwhile, ISPA in Indonesia is synonymous with air pollution that gets worse every year.
According to the Jakarta Health Authority DKI, poor air quality is the main reason for the increase in the number of ISPA patients in the capital.
The age group most vulnerable to ISPA are children between the ages of 0 and 14. This is because their immune system is imperfect and still developing.
See also: Not only air pollution, these are 4 things that can cause ISPA
Prof. Dr. Dr. Bambang Pleasantly, SpA(K) at the FKUI webinar on Thursday (August 24, 2023) stated that the most dangerous air pollution causing ARI in children is 2.5 micrometers (µm) or PM 2.5.
Dirty air particles have different sizes. Some of them are PM 10 and above, and some are PM 2.5 and below.
PM 10 air pollution cannot enter the deep respiratory tract, it only lingers in the nose and becomes dirt.
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“Usually, those that are less than 10 micrometers in size get into the respiratory tract,” he said.
“The most dangerous thing is if the size is 2.5 micrometers and below. It will penetrate into the ends of the respiratory tract, namely into the alveoli. This causes various kinds of damage to internal organs,” he explained.
In this case, the child will develop SARS, affecting the larynx, trachea, bronchi and alveoli located in the lungs.
PM 2.5 air pollution entering the bloodstream can affect not only the respiratory tract, but also other internal organs through which blood flows.
“If adults (exposure to air pollution) is already serious, then it is even more difficult for children. In fact, when a mother is pregnant and breathes dirty air, the baby can also be affected,” he said.
Also Read: 14 ISPA Characteristics You Should Pay Attention To
What are the symptoms of SARS in children?
According to ACT Health, common ARI symptoms in children include the following:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Sore throat
- stuffy or runny nose
- Pain in the face or ear
- Red and/or watery eyes
- Muscle aches or pains in the body
- It’s difficult to breathe
- Bad feeling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you, as a parent, have noticed these signs of SARS in your child, immediately show the baby to the doctor.
If it’s too late, ISPA can be fatal to your child’s health.
Read also: Learn what ISPA is, causes and signs.
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