Pneumonia is an infection in the lung caused by a virus or bacteria.  Pneumonia usually includes a cough and fever,  and sometimes rapid breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain.  Rattles in the chest or rattley breathing are not necessarily sign of pneumonia.  Rattles are typically just mucous or congestion.


Immediately if:

  • lips are dusky or blue
  • breathing is labored (fast, nostrils flaring, anxious, muscles between ribs or under chin are tugging)
  • chest pain is severe when not coughing
  • your child is short of breath when not coughing
  • constant cough

 During office hours if:

  • your child has a cough with fever that lasts 3 days or more
  • your child has a cough with chest pain
  • your child has a breathing rate of over 40 times a minute while resting
  • your child’s cough lasts more than 2 weeks or if the cough worsens after 1 week.
  • coughing causes several episodes of vomiting
  • coughing spasms tire your child or keep himup more than 1 hour at night
  • cough causes your child to miss more than 2 days of school
  • you have other concerns or questions


  • Try frequent sips of fluid or a steamy bath or shower to alleviate cough.
  • Make an appointment.  Your doctor listening to the lungs can usually determine the presence of pneumonia.  Your doctor may order a chest x-ray to diagnose pneumonia.
  • If pneumonia is caused by bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

Pneumonia is not an emergency unless there is labored breathing.

If you suspect your child has pneumonia please contact the office during office hours.

Additional Information:

  •  Pneumonia in most cases is treated with antibiotics at home
  •  RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a type of viral infection that may cause pneumonia in infants and young children.  RSV occurs in the late fall and  winter.  RSV is a virus therefore antibiotics are not used to treat it.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507