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Pneumonia: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of pneumonia?

Symptoms vary depending on the age of the child and the cause of the pneumonia, but common ones include:

  • Cough
  • Fever 
  • Rapid breathing (in some cases, this is the only symptom)
  • Breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  • Labored breathing that causes nasal flaring and makes the rib muscles draw in (muscles under the ribcage or between ribs suck inward with each breath)
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased activity
  • Loss of appetite in older kids or poor feeding in infants, which may lead to dehydration
  • In extreme cases, bluish or gray color of the lips and fingernails

Someone with pneumonia in the lower part of the lungs near the abdomen might have fever and abdominal pain or vomiting but little or no breathing problems.

Kids with bacterial pneumonia usually get sick fairly quickly and will develop a high fever and rapid breathing very quickly.

Kids with viral pneumonia may have symptoms that appear more gradually and may be less severe. Wheezing is more common in viral pneumonia.