A lower respiratory tract infection (RTI) occurs when there is an infection of the lungs, specifically in the lower airways. This infection is usually caused by a virus, but it can also be caused by bacteria or other less common organisms.
Common lower RTIs in infants and young children include:
The main symptom of a lower RTI is cough, which can be severe. Your child may have a dry cough or a wet cough. Even if it is a wet cough, he or she may not be able to cough up phlegm/mucus.
Other symptoms of a lower RTI include:
Doctors at Riley at IU Health may use one or more of the following exams and tests to diagnose a lower RTI:
If your child has a lower RTI caused by a virus, the doctor will make the following recommendations:
If your child has a lower RTI caused by bacteria, the doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.
If your child’s condition worsens, he or she may need to be hospitalized. Doctors may administer oxygen therapy or breathing treatments, which can help your child breathe easier.
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