How to Care for Your Child with Bacterial Pneumonia

This leaflet will provide you with information about Bacterial Pneumonia symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and home advice

pdf icon Download this Guide


What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can be caused by viruses or bacteria.

When bacteria get into the lung the airway get irritated and filled with germs fighting cells and mucus. This blocks the airway and lead to coughing and breathing problems.

What are the symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia?

Not all children have the same symptoms, but the common symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Breathing faster than normal
  • Trouble breathing or pain when breathing in
  • Restlessness or trouble feeding (in babies)

How is Bacterial Pneumonia diagnosed?

The doctor will ask few questions about your child’s health and then examine your child. Your child’s doctor will decide if further investigation (like x-ray) and/or blood tests are needed.

How is Bacterial Pneumonia treated?

Pneumonia that is caused by bacteria respond well to antibiotics. Most children will start feeling better after a couple of days of starting antibiotics. Pneumonia that caused by viruses don’t respond to antibiotics

  • If your doctor advises to give medicine for pain or fever, you can give you child Paracetamol (any brand) or   Ibuprofen (any brand)
  • Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
  • Do not give Aspirin to your child as this can cause serious complications

Home care advice

  • Ensure your child takes the antibiotics regularly as prescribed
  • Ensure your child get appropriate rest
  • Ensure your child drink plenty of fluid
  • Avoid smoking in the house and around a child. This might trigger coughing and make your child more susceptible to lung infections.
  • Ensure that your child is up-to-date with vaccination as some vaccines can help prevent certain kind of pneumonia.

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical advice, if your child:

  • Is not taking the antibiotics
  • Is not eating or drinking
  • Is not getting better after a couple of days of regular antibiotics
  • Has signs of dehydration like
    • Dry sticky mouth
    • Peeing less
    • No tears when crying
  • If you have any concerns about your child not getting better

Go to the Emergency Department if your child:

  • Is pulling his neck or chest muscles when breathing
  • Is struggling to breathe or turns blue