Secretary: Suzanne Harvey
Royal Brompton Hospital,
77 Wimpole Street,
London, W1G 9RU

Respiratory Conditions

Which Medication Is Right for Pneumonia Treatment?


Every child who has pneumonia will benefit from getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and enjoying some attention from you. However, different kinds of pneumonia may require different types of medication.

Antibiotics for Pneumonia

Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed for pneumonia treatment, but these drugs can only help if the infection is caused by bacteria. Bacterial pneumonia usually appears suddenly, while viral pneumonia can develop more slowly after initially seeming like just a normal cold. However, it can be tricky to tell the two conditions apart. You should always see a doctor if you suspect pneumonia. If the doctor confirms that the infection is bacterial, you will be given antibiotics for your child. In some cases, antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is a risk that your child will develop a bacterial infection while they are fighting off viral pneumonia.

If you are given antibiotics, make sure you follow the instructions carefully and complete the whole course of pneumonia treatment, even if the symptoms seem to have improved. You should notice a difference within a few days, unless the bacteria is resistant to the medication or the infection was actually viral. Tell the doctor if there is no improvement, as the treatment may need to be changed.

Other Types of Pneumonia Treatment

Whether your child has bacterial or viral pneumonia, it can also help to give them some painkillers. An over the counter medicine like paracetamol can help with chest pain and other symptoms of pneumonia. Make sure that you use medication designed for children and check the dose for your child’s age. You should never give aspirin to a child under 12. It is also best to avoid cough medicines, as these won’t help with a chest infection. A hot orange or Ribena will probably do more to soothe your child, and it will help keep them hydrated too.

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