Background: Acute respiratory infections and especially pneumonia are considered as the most important infection-induced cause of child mortality in developing countries. We aimed to investigate the effect of prescribing zinc sulfate on improving the clinical symptoms of pneumonia in 2-59-month-old children.
Materials and Methods: This clinical trial study was performed on 108 children complaining of fever, coughs, and tachypnea referring to three educational hospitals of Mashhad (Ghaem, Imam Reza, and Dr. Sheikh). The patients were randomly assigned into control (n=54), and intervention (n=54). In the control group placebo was prescribed, while the intervention group received oral zinc sulfate 10 mg (1 ml/ kg in children younger than one year, and 20 mg/kg for children above one year every 12 hours. During hospitalization, every 12 hours the clinical symptoms of both groups including tachypnea, duration of fever, coughs, intercostal retraction, hypoxia, crackles-wheezing, and duration of hospitalization were recorded. At the beginning and end of the treatment, two blood samples were taken for determining the serum level of zinc.
Results: The findings indicated that the serum level of zinc sulfate after the intervention increased significantly in the intervention group (p <0.001). There was a significant difference in the duration of fever between the intervention and control groups 24 hours after hospitalization (p=0.014) and 36 hours post-hospitalization (p=0.02). Comparing the presence or absence of tachypnea in the intervention and control groups, there was a significant difference at 36 hours post-hospitalization (p=0.02).
Conclusion: Based on the results, zinc supplement was effective for patients with pneumonia in reducing the duration of fever and number of breaths, but it had no significant effect on the duration of coughs and hospitalization.