Pneumonia is an infection deep in the small airways and air sacs of the lungs. The infection will make the air sacs swell and fill with fluid or pus. This causes intense coughing and can make it difficult to breathe.
Types of pneumonia include:
This article will focus on community-acquired pneumonia.
Pneumonia is caused by a germ in the air that you breathe. Germs that most often cause community-acquired pneumonia include:
Pneumonia is more common in children under the age of 5 years.
Factors that may increase your child’s chance of pneumonia include:
Pneumonia may cause:
Children may also have:
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect pneumonia based on the exam.
Blood and coughed fluids may be tested, but are not always needed.
Sometimes images of the lungs may be needed. Tests may include:
Treatment of pneumonia depends on:
Treatment will be based on what may have caused the pneumonia and your child's overall health. More support may be needed if there is a severe infection. A hospital stay may be needed if it becomes difficult to breathe.
Treatment options may include:
The doctor may recommend:
Oxygen may need to be given for severe infections. This will help to increase the level of oxygen that passes to the blood.
A hospital stay may be needed if:
Treatments in the hospital may include:
A hospital stay may also be needed for children with weaker immune systems.
Vaccines may help to prevent certain pneumonia:
Some children may have a higher risk of pneumonia. Medication may be given to these children after a cold or the flu to help prevent pneumonia.
To decrease your child’s risk of any respiratory infection:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Community-acquired pneumonia in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113670/Community-acquired-pneumonia-in-children. Updated August 15, 2017. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Updated February 7, 2017. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Pneumonia. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/pneumonia.html. Updated May 2011. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Pneumonia. WHO website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs331/en/. Updated September 2016. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Pneumonia in Children. Bostons Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/pneumonia. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Pneumonia in Children. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/pneumonia-children. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 2/3/2015