How to Prevent Pneumonia in Children?

Pneumonia is one of the most common infective conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract. The incidence of pneumonia rises sharply during the winter season. Contrary to the popular belief, flu is not the only infection you need to worry about during winter.

Pneumonia tends to be more serious than flu and the common cold when it affects children. Parents should be aware of the most effective ways to prevent pneumonia in their kids so that they can protect them against the risk of complications.

Pneumonia in Children: Introduction

Pneumonia is a common lung infection that is known to cause a range of moderate to severe symptoms in adults as well as children. It is the children and the older individuals who have a much higher risk of developing complications due to pneumonia.

The best way to protect the children from pneumonia is to maintain good hygiene and follow practices such as regular hand washing and cleaning and disinfecting the potentially contaminated objects and surfaces.

Also, children usually recover from this infection when they receive timely medical attention.  Hence, it is important for parents to be aware of the common signs and causes of pneumonia so that the condition can be diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Common causes of pneumonia in children

Children are prone to develop pneumonia due to the exposure to bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. In children, pneumonia may also develop as a complication of other infections such as the flu or any upper respiratory infection caused due to viruses.

The air passages in the nose and throat allow these microorganisms to enter into the lungs and infect the air sacs called the alveoli thus triggering the development of pneumonia. 

A virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is commonly implicated to be responsible for causing pneumonia in children less than 5 years of age. Children younger than 1 year of age have a higher risk of pneumonia due to the exposure to second-hand smoke.

Here are some more conditions that can make children prone to develop pneumonia due to microorganisms: 

  • Airway or lung problems 
  • Chronic health issues such as asthma and cystic fibrosis
  • Compromised immune system

You can attend our Respiratory Care Conference to know more about the pathogenesis of pneumonia and the best ways to prevent this infection in children.

Symptoms of pneumonia in children

Pneumonia usually spreads when an infected person releases contaminated droplets into the air while coughing and sneezing. As children often spend more time indoors in the cold or cooler weather, they are more likely to be exposed to this illness during winter, fall, and early spring.

It should be noted that the clothes the children wear and the temperature outside do not protect them from this infection.

The symptoms of pneumonia may vary among different children. The symptoms and their severity may also depend on whether it is the bacteria or a virus causing the illness.

Children infected by bacterial pneumonia usually present with symptoms like:

  • Cough with mucus
  • Pain while coughing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite

It is often difficult to know whether the pneumonia is caused due to bacteria or viruses. If it is caused due to a virus, the breathing problems may develop more slowly. The child may also have wheezing in the chest and develop a slowly worsening cough.

The symptoms that often show up in children due to viral pneumonia include:

  • Headaches
  • Rapid breathing
  • Body aches
  • General fussiness
  • Chills

It is important for parents to be aware of these symptoms and causes of pneumonia so that they can seek immediate medical attention for their child. Our online respiratory webinars are aimed at providing in-depth information about pneumonia in children to help doctors make the correct diagnosis of this condition.

Prevention of Pneumonia in children

  • Keep the child away from adults and children who are sick. If the child is sick with the symptoms of upper or lower respiratory tract infections like running nose, sneezing, or cough, it is best to keep him or her away from healthy children.
  • Make sure the child is vaccinated. The PVC13 (Hib and Pneumococcal vaccine) is highly effective for protecting children against bacterial pneumonia.
  • Make sure the child has received a flu shot as an infection due to influenza (flu) virus may trigger the development of pneumonia.
  • Encourage frequent hand washing with soap and warm water to prevent the viruses and bacteria from entering the body, especially when the hands come in contact with the child’s nose and mouth.
  • Use hand sanitizer to clean the hands of the child when outdoors
  • Do not let the child share eating cups, straws, and utensils with others. Do not encourage sharing of handkerchiefs and facial tissue.
  • Keep the child well hydrated.
  • Make sure the child gets plenty of rest and sleep on a daily basis.
  • Check the child’s temperature using a thermometer. Do not attempt to guess if the child has a fever simply by feeling if the body seems hot. If the temperature is above 100.4 F, it could be considered a fever. Seek immediate medical attention for the early diagnosis and treatment of the condition.


Prevention is the key to protecting your child against pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

Reminding your child to wash his or her hands frequently, practicing good hygiene, and keeping them away from those who are sick could help to prevent the development of pneumonia in children as well as adults.

It is also important to feed them nutritious and balanced foods to ensure the body receives a good supply of nutrients needed to fight disease-causing agents.

Our Respiratory Therapy CME Conferences 2022 are aimed at educating doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals about the most effective ways to prevent pneumonia. The live respiratory conference 2022 would help you provide the right guidance to your patients and their families to enable them to avoid respiratory infections.