What is pneumonia in children?

On this page, we have information for parents and carers about what pneumonia is, what causes pneumonia in children, and who is more at risk.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. It can affect one or both lungs. Your child may have a cold or flu before developing pneumonia. Around 700 children under five in the UK get pneumonia each year.

What causes pneumonia in children?

Pneumonia can be caused by viral or bacterial infections such as:

  • respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza (flu) type A or B. These are the most common viral causes of pneumonia in children
  • streptococcus pneumoniae. This is the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia in children.

Is my child at risk?

Babies and very young children may be at more risk of getting pneumonia because their immune systems are not yet fully developed.

Children may also be at risk if:

Most healthy children can fight pneumonia infections with their natural immune defenses, so won’t need any treatment.

Did you find this information useful?

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