Pneumonia, a lung infection, is caused by several microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, states KidsHealth, a medical resource provided by the Nemours Foundation 2. Depending on the cause, infants with pneumonia may require medical treatment to assist with breathing or fluid replacement 2. Like any infection, treatment of pneumonia is based on the cause 2. Symptoms of pneumonia in an infant tend to be similar regardless of the cause of the infection 2.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Pneumonia primarily affects the lungs 2. An infant may only have symptoms of pneumonia that involve breathing, such as rapid breathing, labored breathing or noisy breathing 2. It is evident that an infant's breathing is labored when the skin is pulled tight across the ribs with each inhale. The nostrils may retract and flare with each breath as well. Wheezing or whistling sounds while inhaling or exhaling can also be symptoms of pneumonia 2. The University of Michigan Health System explains that chest rattling is possible in infants but it is not always a definite sign of pneumonia 2. Noisiness is because of fluid building up in the lungs, specifically in the air sacs (alveoli). This fluid is the primary cause of all respiratory signs of the infection.
Seal-Like Cough in Children
When a respiratory infection impacts the lower parts of the lungs, abdominal symptoms of illness can be the result, states KidsHealth 2. An infant may vomit or cry from abdominal pain. Other signs that an infant is suffering from stomach pain include pulling the knees upward, crying inconsolably or refusing to eat.
The American Academy of Family Physicians says some of the strongest predictors of pneumonia in children include a fever and cyanosis, a blue tint to the skin 12. An infant without a fever and respiratory symptoms isn't likely to have pneumonia, says the AAFP 2. An infant's temperature can get as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the infant's pediatrician and age, any temperature over 100 degrees may require immediate medical attention. In extreme cases, an infant may have blue or gray lips and/or fingernails. This discoloration is the result of blood cells having inadequate oxygen supply, making them easy to see through the skin.
- The American Academy of Family Physicians says some of the strongest predictors of pneumonia in children include a fever and cyanosis, a blue tint to the skin 1.
- This discoloration is the result of blood cells having inadequate oxygen supply, making them easy to see through the skin.
Seal-Like Cough in Children
How to Tell When a Child Has Labored Breathing
Infant Seizures Signs & Symptoms
Signs & Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infection & Ear Infection in Babies
Causes of Kids' Breathing Problems
Causes of Nail Fungus in Infants
Nystatin Side Effects for Infants
Causes of Inflammation of the Chest Cavity
Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia in the Elderly
Signs and Symptoms of Varicella Pneumonia
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Infants and Children
- KidsHealth: Pneumonia
- Almirall J, Serra-prat M, Bolíbar I, Balasso V. Risk factors for community-acquired pneumonia in adults: a systematic review of observational studies. Respiration. 2017;94(3):299-311. doi:10.1159/000479089
- Komiya K, Ishii H, Kadota J. Healthcare-associated Pneumonia and Aspiration Pneumonia. Aging Dis. 2014;6(1):27–37. doi:10.14336/AD.2014.0127
- Frantzeskaki F, Orfanos SE. Treating nosocomial pneumonia: what's new. ERJ Open Res. 2018;4(2):00058-2018. doi:10.1183/23120541.00058-2018
- American Lung Association. Pneumonia symptoms and diagnosis. Updated May 27, 2020.
- Morris DE, Cleary DW, Clarke SC. Secondary bacterial infections associated with influenza pandemics. Front Microbiol. 2017;8:1041. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.01041
- Chughtai M, Gwam CU, Mohamed N, et al. The epidemiology and risk factors for postoperative pneumonia. J Clin Med Res. 2017;9(6):466–475. doi:10.14740/jocmr3002w
- Garin N, Marti C, Scheffler M, Stirnemann J, Prendki V. Computed tomography scan contribution to the diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2019;25(3):242–248. doi:10.1097/MCP.0000000000000567
- Mantero M, Tarsia P, Gramegna A, Henchi S, Vanoni N, Di Pasquale M. Antibiotic therapy, supportive treatment and management of immunomodulation-inflammation response in community acquired pneumonia: review of recommendations. Multidiscip Respir Med. 2017;12:26. doi:10.1186/s40248-017-0106-3
- Principi N, Esposito S. Prevention of community-acquired pneumonia with available Pneumococcal vaccines. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;18(1):30. doi:10.3390/ijms18010030
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Pneumonia. Mayo Clinic. Updated March 13, 2018.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Pneumonia. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.