Can I Prevent Pneumonia
The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.
People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.
Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.
Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.
You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.
Lab Tests For Pneumonia
The need for more tests often depends on how severe your symptoms are, your age, and your overall health. In general, the sicker you are, the more tests you may need. This is especially true for older adults and infants. One example of a test you may have is the arterial blood gas test.
If you are very ill, have severe shortness of breath, or have a condition that increases your risk , your doctor may test your mucus. Tests include a Gram stain and a sputum culture.
Rapid urine test
This test can identify some bacteria that cause pneumonia. This can help guide treatment for pneumonia.
In people who have impaired immune systems, pneumonia may be caused by other organisms, including some forms of fungi, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci . This fungus often causes pneumonia in people who have AIDS. Some doctors may suggest an HIV test if they think that Pneumocystis jiroveci is causing the pneumonia.
Other lung tests
If you have severe pneumonia, you may need other tests, including tests to check for complications and to find out how well your immune system is working.
How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
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How Can I Help Myself Feel Better
If your doctor has prescribed medicine, follow the directions carefully.
You may feel better in a room with a humidifier, which increases the moisture in the air and soothes irritated lungs. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever. If you have a fever and feel uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring it down. But don’t take any medicine without checking first with your doctor a cough suppressant, for example, may not allow your lungs to clear themselves of mucus.
And finally, be sure to rest. This is a good time to sleep, watch TV, read, and lay low. If you treat your body right, it will repair itself and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
The Link Between The Flu Secondary Infections And Sepsis
As people around the world have gained the ability to travel more easily, viruses have too. A consequence of this viral spread is an increase in critically ill patients, most often throughout flu season. Critically ill influenza patients may suffer from direct viral invasion or a secondary bacterial infection that arises because of infection by the flu virus. These patients are more at risk for complications including pneumoniasevere inflammation of the lungsand sepsis.
Outbreaks of viral respiratory infection, such as influenza, can lead to a high death toll, often over a short period of time. Influenza is a global health threat with an estimated 1 billion cases each year. Of those, an estimated 3.5 million of those cases are considered to be severe, and up 650,000 people die from influenza-related causes. The high rates of mortality are largely attributed to the viruses mode of viral transmission. Through tiny respiratory droplets in the air, respiratory virus particles can easily travel from one person to another.
Serious influenza can lead to pneumonia, which is severe lung inflammation that occurs in response to an infection, and in which the air sacs fill with pus, making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia can lead to sepsis and/or death. The link between influenza, pneumonia, and sepsis is complex. But, in patients with severe influenza, pneumoniaand therefore sepsisis often caused by a secondary bacterial infection.
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What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be hard to diagnose. This is because it can cause some of the same symptoms as a cold or the flu. It may take time for you to realize that you have a more serious condition.
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
- A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
- A physical exam, including listening to your lungs with a stethoscope
- Various tests, such as
- A chest x-ray
- Blood tests such as a complete blood count to see if your immune system is actively fighting an infection
- A Blood culture to find out whether you have a bacterial infection that has spread to your bloodstream
If you are in the hospital, have serious symptoms, are older, or have other health problems, you may also have more tests, such as:
- Sputum test, which checks for bacteria in a sample of your sputum or phlegm .
- Chest CT scan to see how much of your lungs is affected. It may also show if you have complications such as lung abscesses or pleural effusions.
- Pleural fluid culture, which checks for bacteria in a fluid sample that was taken from the pleural space
- Pulse oximetry or blood oxygen level test, to check how much oxygen is in your blood
- Bronchoscopy, a procedure used to look inside your lungs’ airways
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Abnormal Body Temperatures Chills And Sweating
You can run a fever with either flu or pneumonia, but lowered body temperatures may be experienced by people with weakened immune systems, and by seniors 65 and older. If you develop a fever, 100.4° or higher is common with the flubut it should last for 48 hours or less. If your fever climbs to 102° or higher and lasts longer, you may have pneumonia. Both illnesses cause chills and sweating.
Besides Vaccination What Else Can I Do To Prevent Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia
Receiving all recommended vaccinations is one of the best ways to prevent pneumonia. Additionally, there are several other ways to prevent pneumonia, including:
- Quitting smoking, and avoiding secondhand smoke. Smoking damages your lungs.
- Washing your hands before eating, before handling food, after using the restroom, and after being outside. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding being around people who are sick. Ask them to visit when they are feeling better.
- Not touching or sharing objects that are shared with others. Germs can be transferred from object to you if you touch your nose or mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
- Eating a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough rest. Healthy habits keep your immune system strong.
- Getting treated for any other infections or health conditions you may have. These conditions could weaken your immune system, which could increase your chance of infections.
- Avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.
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Pneumonia: Influenza Vaccine Given During Flu Season
What is Pneumonia?Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It affects the lower respiratory tract. This includes small bronchi and air sacs in the lungs. There are three main causes:
- Bacterial pneumonia – caused by bacteria, most commonly Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Viral pneumonia – caused by a virus
- Atypical bacterial pneumonia – often called “walking pneumonia,” but can cause a more serious or potentially fatal pneumonia
- Fungal infections, such as infections that are common in people with AIDS
Pneumonias are sometimes described by where it was acquired and how you were exposed to it:
- Community-acquired pneumonia – cquired in the community
- Nosocomial pneumonia – acquired during a hospitalization
- Aspiration pneumonia – happens when a foreign matter is inhaled
What is Influenza?The flu is a viral infection. It affects the respiratory system. It can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes it can lead to death.Why is this important?Flu shots reduce the risk of influenza. Hospitals should check to make sure that pneumonia patients, particularly those who are age 50 or older, get a flu shot during flu season to protect them from another lung infection and to help prevent the spread of influenza.
Since a flu shot is effective for just one flu season, the period of time used to calculate this rate is the flu season , in contrast to other measures, which are generally collected throughout the year.
The following Performance Standards are provided:
What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough. You will likely cough up mucus from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
- Fever, chills, and sweating.
- Feeling very tired or very weak.
When you have less severe symptoms, your doctor may call this “walking pneumonia.”
Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delirium is common. Or, if they already have a lung disease, that disease may get worse.
Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.
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Nasal Congestion And Sore Throat
With pneumonia, unlike the flu, your sinuses are likely to stay clear. Your throat may become sore from excessive coughing, but you will probably not experience a red or inflamed throat as you would with the flu. Pneumonia causes an infection in the lungs, which produces coughing and breathing difficulties, rather than cold-like symptoms that affect the nose and throat.
What Is The Difference Between Cold And Flu Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Influenza, or the flu, and the common cold can be tricky to tell apart. Both are respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, and they share many symptoms.
Since colds and the flu are caused by viruses, rather than bacteria, antibiotics are not an effective treatment option.
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Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
What Happens When You Have Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of your lungs. It causes inflammation and can lead to the alveoli in the lungs filling up with fluid. This in turn makes it difficult for oxygen to reach the blood stream. Symptoms include: fever, chills, wheezing, cough and difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, pain in the chest, and a general feeling of weakness and ill health. Their severity and symptoms do vary depending upon whether the pneumonia is caused by a bacteria or a virus.
The important thing is to seek medical care immediately when pneumonia is suspected.
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Impaired Leukocyte Recruitment And/or Activation
Studies examining effects of influenza infection on leukocyte recruitment and/or activation during secondary bacterial challenge have produced conflicting results . Most studies suggest that while early recruitment of neutrophils in flu-infected mice postsecondary bacterial challenge is reduced, later neutrophil accumulation is uninhibited or even increased . Interpretation of findings at later time points is often confounded by marked differences in lung bacterial burden. Despite elevated numbers of neutrophils recruited to the airways, there are defects in the function of these cells, including decreased phagocytic activity, myeloperoxidase production, respiratory burst, and lysozyme secretion . Studies also suggest increased apoptosis and reduced survival in neutrophils coinfected with influenza virus and S. pneumoniae . The presence of apoptotic neutrophils within the airspace is of relevance due to the immune suppressive environment generated by the uptake of apoptotic cells by AM and other phagocytes present in the lung. In addition to functional neutrophil defects, more robust binding of bacteria to receptors on epithelial cells can shield microbes from neutrophil-mediated killing .
Causes And Risk Factors Of Cold And Flu
The flu is caused by influenza viruses, but many distinct viruses can cause a cold.
Certain populations are more susceptible to getting a cold or the flu, including the very young, older adults, and people with a compromised immune system.
Factors that can increase your risk of becoming infected include:
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Flu And Pneumonia Prevention
Flu and pneumonia pose special problems for heart patients.
The flu can leave most people sick for a few days, but it can be a much more serious ordeal if you have heart disease or have had a stroke.
In fact, the flu can cause complications, including bacterial pneumonia, or the worsening of chronic heart problems.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that prevents your lungs from getting enough oxygen into the blood, creating a strain on the heart. It can also increase risks for stroke patients.
Its more stress on your heart. It has to work harder to pump blood through your lungs, said Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair and professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a past president of the American Heart Association.
Because of potential complications, which can sometimes lead to death when a patient is already sick, it becomes even more important to avoid the flu if you have heart disease and as you get older, Dr. Arnett said.
Can A Cold Or The Flu Turn Into Pneumonia
Every year, millions of Americans are diagnosed with pneumonia. Although there are many causes, about 33% of people get pneumonia from a cold or flu virus. Catching pneumonia at an early stage is key to a quick recovery. Know the symptoms, treatment and prevention. Because its true. A cold or the flu can turn into pneumonia.
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What To Think About
In most cases pneumonia is a short-term, treatable illness. But frequent bouts of pneumonia can be a serious complication of a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . If you have a severe long-term illness, it may be hard to treat your pneumonia, or you may choose not to treat it. You and your doctor should discuss this. This discussion may include information about how to create an advance care plan.
For more information, see:
There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent getting pneumonia.
- Stop smoking. You’re more likely to get pneumonia if you smoke.
- Avoid people who have infections that sometimes lead to pneumonia.
- Stay away from people who have colds, the flu, or other respiratory tract infections.
- If you haven’t had measles or chickenpox or if you didn’t get vaccines against these diseases, avoid people who have them.