How do we treat pneumonia children?
In most cases, children with bacterial pneumonia receive oral antibiotics at home. If your child’s doctor prescribes antibiotics, make sure your child takes all the medicine as directed. Not taking antibiotics according to the directions can make the infection worse or spread it to other members of your family.
We can treat pneumonia due to flu virus with antiviral medications to target the flu. These medications are only helpful if you start them within the first 2 or 3 days of symptoms.
For other viruses that cause pneumonia, there are no medications. In these cases, supportive measures such as keeping your child hydrated, controlling fever, and treating wheezing or oxygen need help fight off the infection. For wheezing, your child’s doctor might recommend using a nebulizer or inhaler.
One way to know if your child’s lungs are getting enough oxygen is to check their lips and fingernails. They should have a pinkish hue — not bluish or gray.
If you child has a cough, ask your child’s doctor if any over-the-counter medicines might help. Cough suppressants may not help with cough caused by pneumonia. And non-prescription cough and cold medications are generally not recommended for kids under 6 years old.
You should check your child's temperature at least twice a day (morning and evening) while they are sick. In older infants and children, call the doctor if the fever goes above 102ºF (38.9ºC). For babies younger than 6 months, call if a fever is above 100.4ºF (38ºC).
We may recommend a hospital stay if your child:
- Needs supplemental oxygen
- Has a lung infection that may have spread into their bloodstream
- Has any chronic illnesses that weaken their immune system
- Is vomiting so much that they cannot keep down oral medications
- Is dehydrated
Can pneumonia be prevented?
Vaccines can help prevent some types of pneumonia by preventing the infections that lead to it. Children’s Hospital Colorado, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that infants and children receive routine immunizations against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza, the two most common bacterial causes of pneumonia. Children should receive the vaccine for pertussis (whooping cough) starting when they are 2 months old.
Yearly flu and COVID shots can also reduce your child’s risk of pneumonia caused by flu. Children with chronic respiratory diseases may also receive an additional immunization against Streptococcus pneumoniae for more protection against pneumonia.
Why choose Children’s Colorado for pneumonia treatment?
Our Breathing Institute provides comprehensive care for children with breathing problems relating to pneumonia and our medical experts are very experienced in diagnosing and treating children with pneumonia. We work with your child's primary care physician and other specialists your child may need to bring your family the very best care possible.
Children’s Colorado offers the latest in diagnostic testing for both infants and older children with pneumonia. Our experienced staff of pediatric specialists includes physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers and respiratory therapists so we can treat every symptom. This collaborative approach helps us provide the highest quality care and gets your child back on the road to recovery as soon as possible.