The flu season is off to an early and strong start. Flu activity has been reported as widespread in at least 46 states, including Indiana. Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health is currently restricting visitors to protect patients and prevent further spreading. Learn more.
A respiratory tract infection is an infection of the lungs, airways, sinuses or throat. Viruses, bacteria, mycoplasma (a special kind of bacteria) and fungi cause respiratory infections. Children tend to get respiratory infections because they have not built up resistance to the viruses that cause most of these infections.
Generally, there are two groups of respiratory infections:
Usually, respiratory infections are cured completely if treated early, but serious, complex infections may be life-threatening if proper treatment is not provided.
Complications of a respiratory infection may include:
Some respiratory infections and their complications can be prevented with timely vaccination against influenza virus and pneumococcus.
If your child has a complicated respiratory infection, the doctor may perform one or more of these tests:
Treatment for lung infections depends on how severe the illness is and whether the infection is bacterial, viral or fungal.
Most bacterial infections are treated with a full course of prescribed antibiotics. Viral infections are often treated at home with rest and symptom care since antibiotics are usually ineffective. Fungal infections are treated with antifungal medicines.
Children who are at greater risk for serious complications may be hospitalized. For severe symptoms, treatment may include intravenous (IV) antibiotics and/or oxygen therapy.
For more information about complicated respiratory tract infections, please visit the resources below.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.