Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs causing the tissue to swell and the air sacks to fill with fluid, making it harder to take in oxygen. It can take hold after a cold, flu or other illness, and can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi.

What are the symptoms?

Signs of the infection can appear over a day or two, or can develop more slowly. The symptoms can include:

  • A fever
  • A cough
  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Your baby could also show signs of feeling generally unwell, like not feeding as usual.

How you can help

You should see your GP if you think your child has pneumonia. Some cases can be treated at home with antibiotics if the GP believes bacteria has caused the infection. But high risk babies might need a short stay in hospital to help with their breathing. The Hib vaccine included in the 5-in-1 injection, and the pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine, are both given to babies at eight weeks. These injections can protect against some types of pneumonia.

When to call your GP

Call your GP if your baby shows any of the symptoms listed above, or appears to be sleepier than usual. If your baby has any trouble with breathing, you should contact your GP immediately.

The information on this page is more than two years old