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Zinc and Pneumonia


Child with pneumoniaThe Question:

Does supplementation with zinc affect the course of children hospitalized with pneumonia?

The Study:

610 Nepalese children age 2 to 35 months that were hospitalized for pneumonia were treated with antibiotics and other standard care. In addition, half the children received a zinc supplement and half didn’t. The outcome measured was how long it took for the signs and symptoms of pneumonia to resolve.

The Results:

The difference between the two groups was small and not statistically significant. The children that received the zinc supplement recovered marginally faster and there were fewer treatment failures, but the difference wasn’t big enough to say it wasn’t due to chance alone.


Zinc supplementation is effective in treating acute diarrhea and perhaps effective in lessening the risk of developing pneumonia. At least among Nepalese children, once a child has pneumonia, zinc supplementation doesn’t seem to improve recovery time. For zinc to become a routine part of the treatment of childhood pneumonia, more studies that involve children from the U.S. and other developed countries are needed.

Read More:

Pediatrics, 04/12

For more information on children's health go to Pediatrics for Parents.

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