Pneumonia in Babies: A Dangerous Killer


Pneumonia is a type of infection that occurs in the lungs. It causes the lungs to fill with pus, mucus and other fluids. Due to this, your baby can find it hard to breathe. Pneumonia in babies can occur due to weak immunity. It can also occur in infants who have recently suffered from a cold or flu.

Different types of pneumonia in babies

Pneumonia is a general term. It refers to different types of lung infections. There are two types of pneumonia in children. These are:

Bacterial pneumonia

As the name suggests, this is caused by bacteria. The symptoms of pneumonia in babies include:

  • High fever
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coughing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bluish nails and lips
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fast pulse rate

This is because infants do not have a strong immune system. As a result, they may not be able to fight off the infection.

Viral pneumonia

Typically, viral pneumonia occurs due to cold and flu viruses. The onset is not as sudden as bacterial pneumonia. In this case, some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Listlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion

How to detect pneumonia in babies?

The symptoms of pneumonia in babies are slightly different from older children. Therefore, if you are wondering how to detect pneumonia in babies, watch out for the following signs:

  • Wheezing
  • The baby’s fluid intake drops by half in a period of 24 hours
  • The infant uses its muscles to help with breathing. This will be a clearly visible sign. You will be able to spot muscles between the ribs and collarbone sucking in with each inhalation. In fact, this is one of the danger signs of pneumonia in infants. You must take the baby to the hospital immediately if this is happening.
  • The baby coughs and spits out yellow, bloodstained, or green mucus.
  • Fever and chills
  • Blue fingernails and lips

Similar breathing difficulties in premature babies also indicate pneumonia.

How to diagnose pneumonia in infants?

Doctors use different tests to check for a chest infection in infants. To begin with, the doctor will examine the chest with a stethoscope. This is because listening to the breath can help the doctor identify if there are any lung problems.

Following this, an X-ray is the most common diagnostic test for pneumonia. The chest x-ray results for pneumonia are often definitive. However, a mucus or blood test may also be used. This helps doctors determine whether pneumonia in the newborn is bacterial or viral.

The treatment depends on this test. MediBuddy’s Lab Tests can help you get quick results so that you can show them to your doctor during the first visit. This can help you save time and treat the baby quickly.

Are there any home remedies for pneumonia in babies?

There are certain things you can do at home to treat your baby. Of course, nothing replaces the care and expertise of a doctor. However, you can use the following home remedies -

  • Ensure your baby gets enough rest.
  • Breastfeed your baby often, even though he/she may not have any appetite. This is to ensure that the baby stays hydrated at all times.
  • Do not give the baby any random cough medicines. They have no effect on pneumonia.
  • Do not smoke around your baby.
  • If the baby has bacterial pneumonia, then use a cool mist humidifier.

These are things you can do to make the baby comfortable. However, do watch for the danger signs of pneumonia in infants, as mentioned above. If you spot any of those signs, take your baby to a doctor.

Treatment for pneumonia in infants

If the baby has bacterial pneumonia, then the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. These show signs of improvement within 48 hours. Of course, the cough will take longer to go.

Viral pneumonia is also treated with medications. If the infant fails to feel better within 48 hours, doctors recommend hospitalization. More often than not, when it comes to pneumonia in infants, babies under 6 months are admitted as a precaution. This means that the baby will be admitted without the customary 48-hour wait.

Child care can be quite daunting. It is natural for parents to start pulling their hair over small symptoms or irregularities. The first few days after having a baby are often the scariest for new parents. Watch your baby carefully for any signs of pneumonia, and make sure you inform your doctor quickly if you think your baby has a lung infection!