What Are the Beginning Signs of Pneumonia?

Updated on March 27, 2011
J.F. asks from Little Rock, AR
16 answers

My daughter is in a 3K program at her school and a little girl in the two year old part just got over pneumonia, but not without exposing it to all the other kids. My daughter is coughing now, and sniffling, but that's all, no fever and she doesn't act like she feels bad. The coughs, however, are real phlegm-y and i've had moderate success with children's Mucinex. If this doesn't get better, i'll take her to the doctor of course, but in the meantime what are some signs I should look for? Any responses from nurses are especially welcome. Thank you!

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So What Happened?

She's better. Still coughing and sniffling but I believe it's no more than a common cold. Thanks for everyone's concern!

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answers from Chattanooga on

This is how it started out for my son. The fever and rash didn't come on til much later. I took him to the ER b/c his cough got so bad he couldn't lay down long enough to fall asleep.

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answers from Birmingham on


I'm not a nurse but I suffer from Asthma and have already has Pneumonia twice this year. Needless to say, I know a little about the subject.

First, it most certainly is contageous! I know because I specificaly asked my doctor this question.

Signs of Pneumonia,
A dry, hacking cough. (It's a good sign if the child is coughing phlegm up...bad sign if they are not OR it's little hard chunks)
Wheezing when breathing.
Chest Pain (When Breathing)

Have your child take a deep breath and then FORCE the breath out..don't just release it slowly. If she starts wheezing while doing this you need to take her to the doctor for a chest x-ray. Let your doctor know that there has been someone in her class with pneumonia. Your Doctor will know the best course to take.

Also, if she is coughing up green or yellow phlegm, that could be a sign of infection and she may need an antibiotic.

Good Luck!

They do have a Pneumonia Vaccine that your daughter may have gotten on one of her previous Check Ups. I mention this because I had forgotten that my daughter had gotten it and it's what has helped her to not catch my Pneumonia every time I have gotten it.



answers from Memphis on

My, now 21-month old had a slight case of pneumonia last December. She was 11-months at the time. It started out looking like a cold. Cough, runny nose, etc. Then she started running a fever. Not a very high one, but around 101ish. We just couldn't get the fever to break. She wasn't eating or drinking and we could tell she was not feeling well at all. My husband took her to the ER and they kept her for one night.



answers from Nashville on

According to WebMd:

What causes pneumonia?
Germs called bacteria or viruses usually cause pneumonia.

Pneumonia usually starts when you breathe the germs into your lungs. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection, so it is easier to get pneumonia. Having a long-term, or chronic, disease like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes also makes you more likely to get pneumonia.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria usually come on quickly. They may include:

Cough. You will likely cough up mucus (sputum) from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.


Fast breathing and feeling short of breath.
Shaking and "teeth-chattering" chills. You may have this only one time or many times.

Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in.

Fast heartbeat.

Feeling very tired or feeling very weak.

Nausea and vomiting.


When you have mild symptoms, your doctor may call this "walking pneumonia."



answers from Shreveport on

in my 2 kids ages 6 & 3 its very simmilar to a reg. cold sooo i would always take them expecially when the coughing starts.



answers from Knoxville on

Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria in healthy children
can come on suddenly. They often start during or after an upper respiratory infection, such as influenza or a cold, and may include:

Cough, often producing mucus (sputum) from the lungs. Mucus may be yellowish or green or even tinged with blood.
Fever, is fairly common in all children with early sign of pneumonia.
Shaking, "teeth-chattering" chills (one time only or many times).
Fast, often shallow, breathing and the feeling of being short of breath.
Chest wall pain that is often made worse by coughing or breathing in.
Fast heartbeat.
Feeling very tired (fatigue) or feeling very weak.
Nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of pneumonia not caused by bacteria (nonbacterial) include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and little mucus when you cough. They may come on gradually and are often less obvious and less severe than those of bacterial pneumonia. Many people don't know that they have nonbacterial pneumonia because they do not feel sick.

My grand-baby had pneumonia and I doubt if your little one has it unless the fever and shortness of breath starts soon. I was told pneumonia was not contagious but need to research those facts to truly remember. This is also the time for little ones with allergies from seasons changing to have signs too of sneezing and coughing. You can never be too safe, so I would call the Doctor's office and ask the nurse on duty.



answers from Mobile on

Well I can tell you that sometimes there's no signs
my daughter was going trough the same... I had no clue that she had pneumonia because she was only coughing so my husband told me that it was better if I took her to the doctor and she had it... they prescribed 3 different drugs and antibiotics, he said that at the begining there's no sympthoms until they are really sick.
I would take her to the dr before it gets worse. I hope she feels better!
good luck



answers from Nashville on

Signs and Symptoms of Pnuemonia:
she could have a fever but not necessarily.... depending on what kind of pnumonia she has. It could be anywhere from a low grad to really high fever.
Obviously she would have a really bad cough and probably will cough up alot of green and depending on what kind of pnumonia she has it could even be tinged to look a little pinkish or rusty colored. That could be coughing up a little blood.
Listen to her breath. There will be a lot of wheezing and if you put your ear to her back and sometimes you will be able to lay your hand across her chest or back and feel it but there will be a rough,crackling rub that you can hear or feel sometimes.
She will probably be really fatigued. Just really tired and laying around and not wanting to do anything.
She can act as if it is hard for her to breath or short of breath. You may see her gasp really deep every once in a while.
Her chest may hurt, her stomach may hurt. And she may comoplain of her chest hurting when she breaths or only when she breaths really deep. She may complain of being sore all over, especially the chest and stomach area.

Your lungs have little grape vines on the inside called alveoli. When you have pnumonia those little grapes begin to fill up with fluid. It could be infected if it is bacterial pnumonia. In any case, pnuemonia is dangerous in younger children. If you suspect pnumonia, you don't want to play around with that. You need to get her to the doctor and get her on an expectorant to loosen all that phlegm up and an antibiotic for the bacteria. In babies, those alveoli can fill up with fluid rather rapidly so you don't really want to mess around with pnumonia too long.
I think that if she is already coughing and has been exposed, I would go ahead and take her to be on the safe side and make sure you tell your physician that she has been exposed.



answers from Reno on

J. - I actually have pneumonia right now. I do not have a fever and basically feel fine except for the cough and shortness of breath b/c of my cough. To be honest, if my cough didn't keep me up at night I never would have gone to the doctor! I was given antibiotics and that is helping to break everything up.

I also took my 3 year old to the doctor the same day b/c she has a cough too. They did xrays and determined that it was seasonal allergies. What is going on with your daughter could be as simple as allergies too.

If you can, I would take her to the doctor - the sooner you figure out what it is, the sooner she is better.

Good luck - I hope it is allergies and not pneumonia...



answers from Texarkana on

If you put your hand on their chest as they breath you might feel a rattle......this could be pneumonia trying to set in or it could be "echo" from nasal congestion, you will know by whether or not it changes when they clear their sinuses. If you suspect pneumonia is trying to set in, use Vicks or store brand chest rub on feet and chest and back and tap them firmly on the back and chest to loosen it up, but see a doctor. Dont use the vicks if you have to take them out into the cold as it could CAUSE pneumonia to set in in a case like that......I am not a nurse, but have had a son wind up in the hospital with it and the tapping on the chest helps a lot and the vicks will loosen it........but like I said, if it starts to set in.......SEE a doctor!



answers from Birmingham on

I am a nurse and work in the ER. We see lots of sick kids. Pneumonia is not ususally contageous and I stress usually. If pneumonia develops, there is almost always fever, productive cough with color to the sputum. She will not feel or act herself. Remember kids usually get sick fast but they also bouce back real quick. Keep your eyes on her. I always suggest the use of old fashioned saline nose drops for congestion before you use medications. Saline is natural.



answers from Fort Smith on

it's good that she's coughing it up for one. i would just watch for rapid respirations, shortness of breath and fever. steamy showers are always good to loosen "the gunk". and make sure she's drinking enough water because that will help loosen it up also. and don't hesitate to call your doctor if she shows signs of gets worse. hope this helps!



answers from Johnson City on

My son started by coughing it lasted about a week of just that then one day his fever shot up and the next day he started vomiting. off to the doctor we went i just had to describe the system and they did a test. wouldn't hurt to go ahead and have her checked any way



answers from Hattiesburg on

I've always heard that pneumonia is not usually contagious. You should watch for high fevers and increasing shortness of breath. I would try saline drops for her nose that always seems to work but without the high fever and shortness of breath i would just treat the symptoms and watch closely.



answers from Knoxville on

Hey J.~
Due to the change in weather, this is the time of year when all types of illnesses go around. But, I would say that it sounds like my daughter, from what you wrote. She gets croup. The cough starts out light, goes rough and then the final note, which is how I know she is getting croup is her barking cough...sounds like a seal barking. Watch for this, and if she starts to sound like that, then take her to the pediatrician. I am not a doctor, but this is my experience. I have put her on Claritan to help her with the seasonal allergies, and the change of weather. We also take bee pollen for allergies. Just a couple of suggestions. If you have any other questions, please let me know! Good luck and I hope that it clears up for you!



answers from Gainesville on

Symptoms of pneumonia vary according to the age of the patient and the cause of the infection. A lung infection that is caused by the micro organisms such as the bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi is known as pneumonia. The pneumonia usually starts with the symptoms of cold and as it progresses there is high fever, there can be shivering and cough which is productive with the sputum.

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