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Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs themselves caused by either a virus or bacteria. Bacterial pneumonia usually comes on after a child has had a cold for several days or it may start without warning. Suspect it if the temperature climbs above 38.9°C (I02°F), breathing becomes rapid and the child coughs frequently. A child with pneumonia will sometimes make a grunting noise. Antibiotics usually promptly cure bacterial pneumonia if treatment is started early. Call the doctor if your child develops a fever and coughs frequently.

Pneumonias caused by viruses are more common and usually less severe, often getting better on their own in two to four weeks. Although viral infections cannot be cured by antibiotics, it's often hard to be sure whether pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria, so antibiotics are usually prescribed for all children with pneumonia.

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