Pneumonia emergency treatment

• As it is not possible to differentiate reliably between bacterial or viral infection on clinical or radiological grounds, all children diagnosed as having pneumonia should receive antibiotics. Cefotaxime will be effective against most bacteria but flucloxacillin should be added if Staphylococcus aureus is suspected and erythromycin added if Chlamydia or Mycobacteria pneumoniae thought to be responsible.

• Clinical examination and the chest radiograph may reveal a pleural effusion. If this is large, it should be tapped to relieve breathlessness. Details of the procedure can be found on page 235.

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