Pneumonia in Children


This is an infection of the lungs. It makes breathing difficult. And it can be very serious for young children.


Pneumonia is caused by germs your child breathes in. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites can all cause it. These germs overwhelm the body's defenses. They cause inflammation and fluid buildup in the lungs' air sacs. Your child can be exposed to germs anywhere. Germs are spread by coughs, sneezes and contaminated surfaces. Germs are especially common in places where many people gather. Pneumonia may also be caused by accidentally breathing food or liquids into the lungs.


The symptoms of pneumonia may include fever, chills and a cough. Your child may have chest pain and shortness of breath. They may feel fatigued. These symptoms tend to last longer than those of a common cold or flu.


Treatment depends on the age of your child and how severe the symptoms are. Most pneumonia cases are caused by a virus, so antibiotics are not usually given unless a bacterial infection is suspected or found. Breathing treatments may help. Your healthcare provider will create a care plan that's right for your child.