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Your child has pneumonia, which is an infection in the lungs. In the hospital, the doctors and nurses helped your child breathe better. They also gave your child medicine to help get rid of the germs that caused the pneumonia. And they made sure your child got enough liquids.
Most children will still have some symptoms of pneumonia after they leave the hospital.
Breathing warm, moist (wet) air helps loosen the sticky mucus that may be choking your child. These things may help:
Do not use steam vaporizers because they can cause burns.
Tap your child’s chest gently a few times a day as they lay with their head lower than their chest. This can help bring up mucus from the lungs.
Make sure everyone washes their hands with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand cleaner before they touch your child. Try to keep other children away from your child.
DO NOT allow anyone to smoke in the house, the car, or anywhere near your child.
Ask your doctor about shots for your child to prevent other infections.
Make sure your child drinks enough:
These drinks may help relax the airway and loosen the mucus: Warm tea, lemonade, apple juice, or chicken broth for children over age 1.
Eating or drinking may make your child tired. Offer small amounts, but more often than usual.
If your child throws up because of coughing, wait a few minutes and try to feed your child again.
Antibiotics help most children with pneumonia get better.
DO NOT give your child cough medicine or cold medicine unless your doctor says it is okay. Your child’s coughing helps them get rid of mucus from their lungs.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you if it is okay to use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever or pain. If these medicines are okay to use, your doctor will tell you how often to give them to your child.
Call the doctor if:
Pavia M, Bianco A, Nobile CG, Marinelli P, Angelillo IF. Efficacy of pneumococcal vaccination in children younger than 24 months: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2009 Jun;123(6):e1103-10. PubMed PMID: 19482744.
Recommended childhood and adolescent immunization schedules—United States, 2010. Committee on Infectious Diseases. Pediatrics 2010;125:195-196.
Sectish T, Prober CG. Pneumonia. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 397.
van der Poll T, Opal SM. Pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of pneumococcal pneumonia. Lancet. 2009 Oct 31;374(9700):1543-56. Review. PubMed PMID: 19880020.