DESCRIPTIONBacterial pneumonia is an infection and inflammation of the lungs with bacterial germs. This is not usually contagious. The lungs and bronchial tubes are involved. Pneumonia can affect both sexes, all ages, but is most severe in young children.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Hospitalization (severe cases only).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSHigh fever (over 102F or 38.9C) and chills.
Shortness of breath.
Cough with sputum that may contain blood or blood streaks.
Chest pain that worsens with inhalations.
Bluish lips and nails (rare).
Infection with bacteria, such as pneumococci, hemophilus, streptococci, or staphylococci.
RISK FACTORSBeing a newborn or infant.
Use of anti-cancer drugs.
Illness that has lowered your child's resistance, such as heart disease, recent surgery, cancer, tuberculosis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, alcoholism, or chronic lung disease.
Poor general health from any cause.
Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Obtain prompt medical treatment for your child's respiratory infections.
Arrange for pneumococcal and influenza immunizations of a child at risk.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies, such as a sputum culture, blood culture, and blood count.
X-rays of lungs.
Pleural effusion (fluid between the membranes that cover the lung).
Spread of infection to the brain or meninges (meningitis).
Usually curable in 1 to 2 weeks with treatment, but may take longer for the very young (or the elderly).
Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture around the child. Putting medicine in the humidifier probably will not help.
Don't suppress the child's cough with medicine if the cough produces sputum or mucus. It is useful in ridding the body of lung secretions.
Suppress the child's cough with medicine if it is dry, non-productive, and painful. Consult your doctor about a cough suppressant.
Use a heating pad or hot compresses to relieve the child's chest pain.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight your child's infection.
Use non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, to relieve minor discomfort.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child should rest in bed until fever declines and pain and shortness of breath disappear. Your child may read or watch TV and, after treatment, may resume normal activity as soon as possible.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Urge your child to increase fluid intake; drinking at least 1 glass of water or other beverage every hour is beneficial. Extra fluid helps thin lung secretions so they are easier to cough up.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of pneumonia.
The following occurs during treatment: fever higher than 102F (38.9C); pain not relieved by heat or prescribed medication; increased shortness of breath; dark or bluish fingernails, skin, or toenails; blood in the sputum; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.