Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs. Most cases of pneumonias in children are caused by viruses and luckily these illnesses (Viral Pneumonias) are mild.
A child with viral pneumonia may have a cough, mild fever, and decreased appetite and energy. Viral pneumonias are often treated with acetaminophen for fever and sometimes bronchodilators (if there is wheezing).
Bacterial pneumonias tend to have more severe symptoms (child may suddenly have shaking chills; a high fever; difficult, rapid breathing; and other breathing problems), and they respond best to therapy with antibiotics, fluids, and humid air.
An x-ray most likely is needed to make sure that pneumonia is the cause of the symptoms. Most cases of pneumonia can be safely treated at home. If the symptoms are severe or your child is under 6 months of age, however, he may need to go to the hospital for treatment.