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Pneumonia in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Viruses are usually the cause of pneumonia in children. Children with viral pneumonia can also develop bacterial pneumonia. Often, pneumonia begins after an infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). This causes fluid to collect in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Pneumonia can also develop if something such as food or stomach acid is inhaled into the lungs.

The Lungs

What increases my child's risk for pneumonia?

What are the signs and symptoms of pneumonia?

The signs and symptoms depend on your child's age and the cause of his or her pneumonia. Signs and symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin more quickly than signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia. Your child may have any of the following:

How do I know if my child is having trouble breathing?

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child and listen to his or her lungs. Tell the provider if your child has other health conditions. Your child may also need any of the following:

How is pneumonia treated?

If your child's pneumonia is severe, he or she may need to stay in the hospital for treatment. Trouble breathing, dehydration, high fever, and the need for oxygen are reasons to stay in the hospital.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I manage my child's symptoms?

How can I help my child breathe easier?

How can pneumonia be prevented?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.