Thumbnail image of: Respiratory System: Illustration

Pneumonia: Brief Version

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lung. Your child may have:

  • Problems breathing
  • Fast, painful breathing
  • Pulling in between the ribs with each breath
  • A cough
  • A fever
  • Chills

Your doctor may order an X-ray of your child’s chest.

Pneumonia is not spread from one person to another.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Give your child an antibiotic to get rid of the infection.
  • Give your child medicine for fever and chest pain.

    Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever and chest pain. No aspirin.

  • Give warm fluids for your child’s cough.

    Thick, sticky mucus makes your child cough. Warm fluids help thin out and loosen the mucus.

    Try warm lemonade, warm apple juice, or herbal tea. Do not give cough medicine to your child. Your child needs to cough up the mucus in the lungs. This helps your child get better. Don’t give your child cough medicines.

  • Keep the air in your child’s bedroom moist.

    You can get a humidifier at the drug store.

  • Do not smoke near your child.

    Smoke makes your child’s cough worse. It makes the cough last longer.

Call your child’s doctor right away if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • You see pulling in between the ribs with each breath your child takes.
  • Your child gets sicker or seems worse.

Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:

  • Your child still has a fever 2 days (48 hours) after you started the medicine.
  • The cough lasts over 3 weeks.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-06-07
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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