The upper and lower airways of the respiratory tract are the most common sites of infection in childhood. Infection of the upper respiratory tract is usually viral and mild, and in most cases can be managed symptomatically. Infection of the lower respiratory tract (pneumonia) is often more difficult to manage: problems may include deciding whether the child needs antibiotic therapy, choosing an appropriate drug and judging whether referral to hospital is required. Here we consider the causes, diagnosis and treatment of community-acquired pneumonia in previously healthy children presenting to the GP.
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