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:
—infection is picked up in the community, such as home, school, or daycare
Nosocomial—infection is picked up in a hospital or healthcare setting
—happens when foreign matter is inhaled into the lungs, such as food, liquid, saliva, or vomit
This article will focus on community-acquired pneumonia.
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:
Antibiotics—for an infection caused by a bacteria
Antiviral medications—for an infection caused by viruses
Over-the-counter medications to reduce fever and discomfort
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:
Child is not getting enough oxygen into their blood
Child is dehydrated because they are not able to eat or drink enough
Treatments in the hospital may include:
Oxygen therapy to increase levels of oxygen in the blood
Nutrition and fluids through IV
Medication delivered through IV
A hospital stay may also be needed for children with weaker immune systems.
Vaccines may help to prevent certain pneumonia:
Flu vaccine—in all children aged 6 months and older
PCV13 is recommended in all children, and routinely given to all children aged 2 months to 5 years
PCV23 in children aged 2 years and older who have a high risk of infection or a suppressed immune system
Hemophilus influenza type B vaccine, routinely given to all children aged 2 months to 5 years
Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, routinely given to all children aged 2 months to 5 years as part of the DTaP vaccine
Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, routinely given to children 11 years or older as part of the Tdap vaccine
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:
Do not expose your child to tobacco smoke. Smoke weakens the lungs' resistance to infection.
Have your child avoid close contact with people who have a cold or the flu.
Encourage your child to wash their hands often, especially after coming into contact with someone who is sick.
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