DESCRIPTIONViral pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a virus. It is unlikely that others will develop pneumonia from exposure to a child with viral pneumonia. The lower respiratory tract (bronchial tubes, bronchioles, and lungs) and the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, tonsils, sinuses, trachea, and larynx) are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFever and chills.
Muscle aches and fatigue.
Cough, with or without sputum or "croup."
Rapid, labored (sometimes) breathing.
Loss of appetite.
Enlarged lymph glands in the neck.
Virus infections, including influenza, chickenpox (especially in adults), respiratory viruses, measles, and cytomegalovirus (especially in infants).
Inhalation of a foreign body into the lung.
Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood studies.
X-rays of the chest and lungs.
Secondary bacterial infections of the lungs.
Usually curable in 4 weeks.
Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture around your child. Putting medicine in the vaporizer probably will not help.
Use a heating pad on the child's chest to relieve chest pain.
MEDICATIONIf the cough produces sputum, it is ridding the child's lungs of secretions and should not be suppressed with medicine. If the cough is dry, non-productive and painful, you may suppress it with non-prescription cough medicine that contains dextromethorphan.
For minor pain and fever, use non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen or decongestant nose drops, nasal sprays, or tablets. Avoid aspirin to decrease the possibility of Reye's syndrome.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight secondary bacterial infections.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Bed rest is necessary for your child until fever, pain, and shortness of breath have been gone at least 48 hours. Then normal activity may be resumed slowly. Many children are fatigued and weak for up to 6 weeks after recovery, so don't expect a quick return to normal strength.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet, but do everything possible to encourage your child to maintain a normal intake of nutritious foods and drinks. Extra fluids help 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:
-- Temperature spikes (rises suddenly) to over 102F (38.9C).
-- Intolerable pain, despite medication and heat treatment.
-- Increasing shortness of breath.
-- Increasing blueness of nails and skin.
-- Blood in the sputum.
-- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.