Pneumonia is an infection of the lung that causes fluid to collect in the air sacs (alveoli).
- Labored breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Pulling in between the ribs with each breath (retractions) sometimes painful breathing
- Fever, sometimes with chills.
Most rattly breathing is not pneumonia. Your child needs to see a healthcare provider to check if he or she has pneumonia. Pneumonia may be caused by viruses or by bacteria.
Call IMMEDIATELY if:
- Breathing becomes more labored or difficult.
- Retractions occur.
- Your child starts acting very sick.
Call within 24 hours if:
- The fever lasts over 48 hours after your child starts taking the antibiotic.
- The cough lasts over 3 weeks.
- You have other questions or concerns.
Yes, we can perform a chest x-ray if the provider thinks it is necessary. It is not necessary to have a chest x-ray to diagnose pneumonia. A provider can diagnose based on listening to your child breathing.
- Children with bacterial pneumonia need an antibiotic prescribed by their provider.
- Only bacterial pneumonia is helped by antibiotics. Antibiotics will not kill viruses. However, your child’s provider may start him on antibiotics because it is uncertain if pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus.
- Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever (over 102°F, or 38.9°C). These medicines can also help chest pain.
- Coughing spasms are often caused by sticky secretions in the back of the throat. Warm liquids usually relax the airway and loosen the secretions. Offer your child warm lemonade, apple juice, or herbal tea. Children over 1 year old can sip warm chicken broth. Encourage your child to drink a lot of fluids.
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