Pneumonia is the build-up of fluid in the lungs due to an infection, which may be caused by bacteria, virus or even a parasite, according to the Kids Health website. Pneumonia is a serious health condition that needs immediate medical care. If your child shows any signs or symptoms of pneumonia, call your doctor immediately.
The respiratory symptoms of pneumonia in children range from mild to severe. It may often start with a cold. The child may cough or wheeze when breathing and have a runny nose and eye drainage. In more serious cases, children may have trouble breathing. In these cases, children will seem to be breathing quickly, their ribs may protrude with each breath or their lips or mouth may turn blue from lack of oxygen. Some children may also complain of pain in their lungs.
Some symptoms may not seem to be related to pneumonia as they mimic flu symptoms. These include fever, chills, and lethargy, according to Kids Health. Children may also vomit, eat less or stop eating completely and complain of general pain in their abdomen. A sore throat and headache may also be associated with some types of pneumonia.
Length of Symptoms
The onset and length of symptoms vary with the type of pneumonia. Children may get very sick suddenly or have what seems to be a persistent cold over several weeks. Telling your pediatrician when the first symptoms appeared and what symptoms your child has, will help your doctor determine what type of pneumonia your child has and how to treat it.
Symptoms That Doctors Check
Your child’s pediatrician will listen to her lungs with a stethoscope and any wheezing or other fluid-like sounds in the lungs that indicate a pneumonia infection. Your child may need an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis. An X-ray will show where in the lungs the infection is and how severe it is. In some cases, doctors will order a follow-up X-ray several weeks following treatment to be sure the infection has been cured.