Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, and other organisms. Pneumonia is usually triggered when a patient's defense system is weakened, most often by a simple viral upper respiratory tract infection or a case of influenza. Such infections or other triggers do not cause pneumonia directly but they alter the mucous blanket, thus encouraging bacterial growth. Other factors can also make specific people susceptible to bacterial growth and pneumonia.

  1. Symptoms of pneumonia vary, depending on the age of the child and the cause of the pneumonia. Some common symptoms include:
  2. fever
  3. chills
  4. cough
  5. unusually rapid breathing
  6. breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  7. labored breathing that makes a child's rib muscles retract (when muscles under the rib cage or between ribs draw inward with each breath)
  8. vomiting
  9. chest pain
  10. abdominal pain
  11. decreased activity
  12. loss of appetite (in older children) or poor feeding (in infants)
  13. in extreme cases, bluish or gray color of the lips and fingernails
  14. Sometimes a child's only symptom is rapid breathing. Sometimes when the pneumonia is in the lower part of the lungs near the abdomen, there may be no breathing problems at all, but there may be fever and abdominal pain or vomiting.