24 answers

Sick Baby? Is It Pneumonia? HELP!!

Hi all, My 5 month old baby has been sick for 6 weeks with a runny nose and horrible cough. I took him to the doctor on week 2 and they gave him amox. I gave it to him (even though I wasn't thrilled about it) and no results! 4 weeks later I took him back and said he has just gotten worse. They have no idea what is wrong and prescribed another antibiotic! I really don't want to give him a RX without knowing what is really wrong with him? Any ideas? I'm thinking it could be pneumonia but have no idea. His appetite is good, he doesn't have a fever. Please help me...I'm super worried.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hey all! This is the first time I have posted anything on this website and I am overwhelmed with the support and great, prompt responses I received...so THANK YOU. I got really aggressive yesterday and got online and just searched and searched. I demanded a chest x-ray and told my doctor he would be getting the results and to call me. He did, and my son has bronchitis. The doctor said over and over that I did the right thing by pursuing other diagnosis when I wasn't happy with the one I was given. So, we have a new healing plan "no antibiotics, no humidifier, and just keep inside/warm for 5 days" He wants to see him again on Friday. So, we're homebound for Christmas. Oh well, at least I know what's wrong with the little guy. Thanks again gals!

Featured Answers

I would sick medical attention if it continues. I have raised 4 children and this is what I would do when my children had coughs or were congested. I would sit in the bathroom with them (on the toilet). Let the hot water on so that the room would steam up and this would always help with getting the mucous to come up. I would do this at least 3 times a day. Give it a try.

They dr should be listening to his lungs at each appt. If it was pneumonia they would hear congestion. Continue any antibiotics they have given you (stopping a treatment can make them worse) but ask why they are giving them...signs of an infection. If the lung sound clear to the dr are they finding signs of an upper respiratory infection? Is the runny nose clear? Have they considered asthma and allergies?

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My little guy has gotten pneumonia each winter. The doctor indicates that if he is sucking in at his belly when coughing and breathing, to bring him in. Then they have given me the option of antibiotics or x-ray then antibiotics. Since this has been a problem with him I just go for the antibiotics. Also, they always ask me if the coughing keeps him awake at night.

Pneumonia is not something to mess around with, so have them do as many tests as possible to rule it out.

Sorry your little one has been so ill...it can be so taxing on you and him. A cough in a 5 month old for 6 weeks is VERY concerning. Amoxicillin is a first line antibiotic that is used to treat ear/sinus infections....not lung problems. It is considered a "weaker" antibiotic and usually does not clear up chest infections. Please insist on a chest xray! Also, discuss gastroesophogeal reflux with your doctor (or find a new one that will listen to you) since that can cause a baby to develop a bad cough by aspirating acid into the lungs. Also, just because your baby has no fever and is happy doesn't mean that he isn't sick! Coughs are signs that there is inflammation in the airways and ongoing coughs can cause irreversable damage to those airways. Please get him in as soon as possible. And please don't be scared of giving him another antibiotic....this one may be stronger and may clear up the infection that he may have going on. One thing to think of that most people don't....do you have a Christmas tree in your house? If you do...did this cough start when you brought it into the house? You would be surprised how many people get ill because they have a horrible allergy to their tree. Be a "detective" to see if there was anything introduced to his environment that may have caused the cough...especially if you are suspicious that it may be an allergy. Good luck and hope your little guy gets well soon

Not sure if this is relevant, but about a month ago my 2 older kids (both of whom become asthmatic when they're ill), were sick with deep, wet coughs. Our pediatrician told us that there's croup going around, so maybe that's something to check into?

I would definitely have a conversation with your doctor though. You deserve to know what he thinks is going on, and what you need to watch out for. It's important for you to be able to be your son's advocate, and if you don't know (or understand) what's going on, that can't happen. Write down all the questions you have, then call your doctor, or schedule another appointment.

Good luck!

Go to a different doctor. Don't stop until you get an answer. If you're doctor is truly saying they don't know what it is--then find a doctor that can figure it out. He's too little to play around with stuff like that.

Hello D.,
I'm sorry your baby is sick. My daughter was sick from 5 months (Nov 07) through 9 months (March 07). It started with broncialitis (sp) (bronchitis of the small air ways) in Nov and ended there in March with a lot of fun, sleepless nights in between. At that point I learned I have a happy baby. She ended up hospitalized for 3 days in March and everyone (Dr included) was shocked she was that sick since she was that happy. I advice finding a new doctor, give him the meds and be happy your son rolls with the punches =O) You could also use the baby vics to help the nose and a humidifier.
Best of luck,

Hello D.,

I am a 37 year old single parent with children ranging in age from 18 yrs. old to 5yrs. old. My son and I both get sick often with pneumonia. My son just turned 5 last week and has been hospitalized 5 times with it. For both of us, I knew it was pneumonia when I could hear a crackling noise when he breathes. Have they taken x-rays of his chest yet? When listening to his lungs, the air flow will be diminished if he has pneumonia. You have to stand your ground sometimes when taking your baby to the doctor's. When my son was 2 years old, I knew he had pneumonia again,(since he had already been hospitalized twice before with it), but the doctors kept telling me different and wanting to prescribe this and that, and just like with you, I didn't want to just give him anything. (Especially since he couldn't keep oral meds down.) I demanded for them to do an x-ray on his chest and refused to leave the hospital until they did. The results came back showing that he did in fact have pneumonia, his left lung was fully diminished and his right lung was half way. If I would have taken him home that night, as they suggested, he would have died. They had to admit him into the hospital, where he stayed for 4 days.

My son has had upper respiratory infections since he was born. He is finally and luckily growing out of it. I have been on a roller coaster with his health for the past 5 years. With everything I have been through with him, and all that I have learned from it, I am greatful that I had the strength to stand up to those who should no better, and are supposed to be there to help you and your loved ones, when in need. If ever in doubt always ask, and when denied ask again and again and again. We know are children better than anyone. To them our children are just another patient. To us they are our lives! Don't take "NO" for an answer and another "Rx", if your feelings inside say different.

Best of luck to you! I hope your baby get's well soon!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a SAFE and Happy New Year!

Don't know what he has but I may have a little trick that may help clear his lungs up. We used this on my little brother quite a bit. 2-3 times a day, lay him on your lap face down. With the heel of one hand thump on his back about as hard as you would to get ketchup out of a bottle. This helps break up any of the phlem in his lungs. He may cough more but coughing is the bodies way of cleaning the lungs.

Sometimes it is very difficult to figure out what is wrong with a baby. If your baby is active and eating with no fever it may be allergies. Any pets in the house? Dust? Milk or fruit allergy?

i was going to suggest to go to another doctor as well if your doc said they didn't have an answer, oh but give him this medicine. it might just be taking a while to clear up. our daughter was sick (just a bad cold) for over a month. it would be ok one day and then back again. she is in daycare though. not sure if your sweetie is. good luck.

Have you ruled out allergies? Allergies can have some of the same symptoms that a cold has. It sounds like he started having problems about the time deep Fall set in. Could he be sensative/allergic to molds and mildews?

Then again, it could be a cold or worse. Insist on a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. If it's not that, get allergy tested. If not that, then it's probably a cold/bronchitis, which no amount of antibiotics will fix.

My daughter had pneumonia. You can ask for a blood test. (You may have to sort of demand it) They test will determine not only if your child had pneumonia but also which kind. There are 3 kinds. One must be treated with Antibiotics (bactieral), one can be(microbial) but it only seems to shorted recovery time a little, and the viral strand does not need antibiotics at all.
I found Drs to think me overboard for demanding blood tests and even tried to say I was poking her for no reason. My advise... Follow your heart and ask for the tests you want. Dont let them just prescribe whatever they want on a hunch. There are alot of good books out there too. Do you have Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child?

They dr should be listening to his lungs at each appt. If it was pneumonia they would hear congestion. Continue any antibiotics they have given you (stopping a treatment can make them worse) but ask why they are giving them...signs of an infection. If the lung sound clear to the dr are they finding signs of an upper respiratory infection? Is the runny nose clear? Have they considered asthma and allergies?


I would call the doctors office and clarify with them why they want to give another antibiotic. If the doctor thought your child could have pneumonia, they would have ordered a chest X-ray immediately.(if they are a good doctor) I would see what they think is the cause and if you are not satisfied with their answer, I would find another pediatrician and get a second opinion. Sometimes it does take another course of antibiotics to get rid of an illness, but I would make sure you know exactly what the diagnosis is before giving it to your baby. Good luck and try not to worry.


Hi D.,

You need to take your baby to the doctor and do what he says. Pneumonia isn't something to take chances with.

I have additional information to share that could be very useful for you too. Natural, nutritional supplements can be valuable resources to strengthen the immune system and help all of us to be as healthy as possible.

There is a 100% juice nutritional supplement called Genesis that you could give to your baby. It is made from red grapes, pomagranate, apple, & aloe vera. It is very safe and very effective. You can check it out on my website at www.symmetrydirect.com/dhendon

Please don't hesitate to call me with questions.

Victorious Living to you and yours,
D. Hendon, RDH,SMM

there is a cold like that going around. It goes for 10-14 days with the nose and cough, then becomes just the cough for another week or two. It could also be that your baby has winter allergies. Keep a watch on him/her for the next few years and see if there is a pattern.
Our son had them starting at 4 months old. He is 14 and still has them like myself. WE take allergy medicine to control the drianage. Otherwise it is like constant sinus infections also. Just to soothe your nerves...when our son had pneumonia it was also a fever of 104, and he would not eat anything. W.

Hello, for a 5 month old your not suppose to give him anything off the counter unless from the Doctor because your baby is too small, if your not satisfied and the baby is not better change to another baby doctor, a baby with pneumonia is a very serious illness, I suggest you seek help soon.

I'm not a doctor, but its my understanding and experience that if a baby has pneumonia you would know. They would be very unresponsive, bluish and not eating well. So, it sounds like its not pneumonia. Maybe ask your doctor to do a swab test for whooping cough. I know it has seen a resurgence in our area and it does take a long time to recover from. It could just be a bad cough. Antibiotics are definately over prescribed. Ask your doctor if they think its a bacterial or viral infection and then do research online to see if its generally helpful to take antibiotics for this. I usually get the prescription written up but not called in and get as much info as I can from the doctor ; go home and research it and then decide if I should call it in. Hope this helps, but I would ask for a pertussis (whooping cough) swab test just to be sure. Hope this helps.

NO FEVER is GOOD! Appetite is GOOD. He probably has MAJOR allergies. Maybe mold? I understand you dont want to give unnecessary antibiotics-can the doc prescribe a cold/cough/nose medicine? Keep him upright as much as possible so it doesnt settle in the chest...

good luck with everything

Hi D.:
For me what I have always done is watch my baby with the runny nose - if it does not have greenish or yellowish consistency and it is just runny, keep him in warm clothes and see if he is allergic to dust, etc. around him. The cough could be signs of croup, bronchitis, etc., so it depends on if he sounds like a barking seal or if it goes along with the nasal drip.
Since your pediatrician but him on Amoxicillin and it didn't do anything, chances are he does not have a viral infection and he will just have to fight off whatever is bugging his body.
Pneumonia comes on in mysterious ways. My oldest son now 15 got pneumonia when he was 2 1/2 and his only warning signs was the night before I took him to the doctor he spiked a 103 fever and the next morning he seemed to have pain in the belly area. The only reason the dr., admitted him to the hospital was because I forced the issue. They did the xrays and found his lungs inflamed from the pneumonia. He spent a week in Sutter.
My other son who is just 2 has had birth complications and pneumonia seems to the be "dr's assessment" every time, whether he has fluid built up in his lungs or not. But he doesn't ever have a fever.
He does right now, however, have a runny nose and is a bit congested. I am giving him children's tylenol at bedtime only and keeping him bundled up due to the weather and at night I prop him up so he is at 30-45 degree angle to help the mucous buildup stay down.
Hope some of this helps. I would assume you have received a lot of advice already.
If he is active and seems okay, just keep watching. If he is becoming lethargic, skip the drs and head to the ER. You will know when it is time, if needed. It is in our mommy genes...
Happy Holidays and if you want to talk more, just let me know.

I'd take your darling to a new doctor.

We drive to SF from San Jose to see Dr. Kara Wright at Mt. Zion Pediatrics. Our ped in southern Cal. recommended her when we moved up this way. They aren't too keen on giving antibiotics, even when I know my daughter needs them (history reliving itself), but they are open to discussions and will work to find solutions.


I know it is super stressful when your baby is sick but the fact that he does not have a fever and had an appetite are good signs.

I have a 20 month old and in the first year she seemed to get a new cold every week and I was so worried. Everyone told me that it was a good thing, because she was building up her immune system, but I didn't listen to them, but it is the truth. Babies have not been exposed to anything and it is natural for them to get sick/virus. Your son probably just has a normal virus and it will just need to run it's course.

My doctor said the only time to be concerned is if your child is not eating/drinking and has a fever over 102 that stays that high even after giving your child tylenol. I would not give an infant anything other than plain infant Tylenol, just 1 dropper, make sure the baby stays warm, get a humidifier for the baby room and try to keep your baby away from other children for at least 5 days so he can heal. ALSO, very important to always wash your hands before touching him.

GOOD LUCK! You are doing a great job!

I'm only guessing, but sounds like an allergy to me. If its not animal, could be mold. Sense the winter weather has arrived, you could have mold building somewhere in the house. I have a friend that is highly allergic to mold, Makes her deathly ill. Check back corners that don't get a lot of heat. I had it in my closet once and didn't even realize it until I moved some things looking for something. I also found it behind my daughters dresser on an outside wall. Well, good luck. Merry Christmas, N.
PS They can take an xray of his lungs for pneumonia

I would sick medical attention if it continues. I have raised 4 children and this is what I would do when my children had coughs or were congested. I would sit in the bathroom with them (on the toilet). Let the hot water on so that the room would steam up and this would always help with getting the mucous to come up. I would do this at least 3 times a day. Give it a try.

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