How To Recognize Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children

How To Recognize Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children

Nigeria has the highest rate of child deaths caused by pneumonia. Here is how to identify the symptoms of pneumonia in children.

Pneumonia is sometimes called chest infection, which is very common in children. In 2018, the disease killed 800,000 children globally, with Nigeria having the highest number with 162,000 deaths. Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by viruses and bacteria. The infection causes one of your lungs to swell, producing more mucus, which sometimes comes with a cold. However, the symptoms of pneumonia in children differ from one child to another. In addition, it depends on the age of the child and the type of virus or bacteria causing the infection.

Types of pneumonia

symptoms of pneumonia in children

There are three types of pneumonia. They include:

  • Severe pneumonia

Severe pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria. Children of any age can catch bacterial pneumonia. Usually, when children have the bacterial kind of pneumonia they get symptoms like high fever and coughing that produces mucus. Most children are in the habit of swallowing the mucus instead of spitting it out. Also, the bacteria depends on the age of the child, but toddlers are more at risk of bacterial pneumonia.

  • Moderate pneumonia

Moderate Pneumonia is the most common pneumonia that can affect children of any age. Typically, it is caused by a virus which affects only one of the child's lungs, but the infection affects the whole body. Fortunately, children with moderate pneumonia get better in a matter of days or weeks. Generally, there's still some coughing even after the child has gotten better. That is normal.

  • Walking pneumonia

This kind of pneumonia is more common in young adults. Sometimes it can also affect school-aged children, but it hardly affects infants and very young children. The effects of this type of pneumonia are gradual, with cough starting slowly until the patient is struggling to even breathe. Other gradual symptoms include cold, fever, and sore throat.

Symptoms of pneumonia in children

symptoms of pneumonia in children

The Symptoms of pneumonia in children also depends on the kind of pneumonia they are carrying.

      Severe pneumonia

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme cold or chills
  • Touch of blue to the lips
  • Skin that looks unhealthy
  • High fever

       Moderate pneumonia

  • Low fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Blocked nose
  • Loss of appetite

       Mild pneumonia

  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness
  • Low fever


symptoms of pneumonia in children

  • Make sure your child's immunisation is up to date. As a result of being immunized, you reduce the risk of catching pneumonia of any kind.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Also, when you sneeze cover your nose and mouth with your elbow and not your hand.
  • When you notice the symptoms of pneumonia in your child, make sure to practice good hygiene so that the infection doesn't spread. They should also not share a toothbrush, towel, or handkerchief with anyone.
  • If your child has just recovered from pneumonia, don't send them back to school immediately even if they feel well enough.


Usually, antibiotics help in the treatment of pneumonia. But in the case of moderate pneumonia, which is caused by a virus, the infection will need time to leave the child's body. Below are other treatments you can try.

  • Let the child rest. When the body is fighting an infection, it needs all the rest it can get in order to successfully fight the infection.
  • If the child has a fever, let him/her drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Use warm water and a clean cloth to dab the child's chest. This will help reduce any chest pain.
  • Use a humidifier to moisturise the air in the child's room. A humidifier is a device that sends wetness into the air, making it less dry.
  • You can get cough medications from the drugstore near you. But you need to be sure it is prescribed by a doctor.

However, call your doctor if your child is having a high fever or is having difficulty breathing. Also, if the doctor gives the child antibiotics, make sure they finish the entire dose even if the child has made a recovery.

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Read also: What Are The Signs Of Dehydration In Children?


Written by

Lydia Ume