What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Three types of fungi living in soil are known causes of pneumonia:
- Coccidioides immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii are two related fungi common to the American Southwest. Both can cause coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever.
- Histoplasma capsulatum is found in the central and eastern United States, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and causes a disease called histoplasmosis.
- Cryptococcus is a fungi found in soil and bird droppings all across the country.
Most people who inhale these fungi don’t get sick, but if your immune system is weak, you may develop pneumonia.
Another fungus, Pneumocystis jirovecii, can generate an infection in premature, malnourished infants, and in people with a weakened immune system, such as those who have HIV or AIDS.
The symptoms of pneumonia that are caused by fungi are often similar to those of other forms of pneumonia, including a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
But because this type of pneumonia usually affects people with weakened immune systems, symptoms tend to develop faster, and people often experience a high fever.
Can A Cold Or Flu Cause Allergies
An allergy is an inflammatory immune response to specific foods or something in the environment, known as an allergen. Colds and flu are caused by viruses or bacteria. Therefore, a cold or flu cannot cause an allergy.
Sometimes, allergies can lead to a sinus infection, which may develop into a fever. Sinus infections are the result of excess mucus and debris getting trapped in the air-filled sinus passages. However, the infection develops due to the bacteria or viruses present rather than the allergens.
Knowing what a person is allergic to can help in treating the allergies. A person can be allergic to several allergens at once. Some of the key steps to reducing allergy symptoms include:
A person with severe allergies may benefit from immunotherapy. This approach involves injecting increasing amounts of allergens in the body to de-sensitize the bodys immune response. A doctor must prescribe these injections.
When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia
You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:
- Shortness of breath or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Mucus, fever or cough
If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
How Is Aspiration Pneumonia Diagnosed
Generally, the first thing your provider will do in any situation is take a complete medical history and perform a physical examination. Theyll ask you about your current signs and symptoms. One thing that is a little tricky about aspiration pneumonia is that often no one actually sees you breathe in an object or food or saliva.
In addition to taking note of your symptoms, your provider will order tests such as:
- Chest X-ray and/or a computed tomography scan. In cases of aspiration pneumonia, inflammation is often seen at the bottom of your lungs.
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How Do You Get Pneumonia
You may get pneumonia:
- After you breathe infected air particles into your lungs.
- After you breathe certain bacteria from your nose and throat into your lungs.
- During or after a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or influenza .
- As a complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox.
- If you breathe large amounts of food, gastric juices from the stomach, or vomit into the lungs . This can happen when you have had a medical condition that affects your ability to swallow, such as a seizure or a stroke.
A healthy person’s nose and throat often contain bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can develop when these organisms spread to your lungs while your lungs are more likely to be infected. Examples of times when this can happen are during or soon after a cold or if you have a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work or when you are in a hospital or nursing home . Treatment may differ in healthcare-associated pneumonia, because bacteria causing the infection in hospitals may be different from those causing it in the community. This topic focuses on community-associated pneumonia.
What Medical Tests Are Available To Determine If I Am Allergic Tomold
There are medical tests to determine if you are allergic to a particularsubstance, such as mold. These can be performed on skin or blood. Skin testsare considered more reliable than blood tests to determine allergic reaction toa substance. Skin tests yield results more quickly, are less expensive thanblood tests and are generally considered more sensitive. If an individual hassymptoms year-round, which may indicate an indoor allergy, skin testing may berecommended.
Blood testing called the RAST test can be done to showif you are allergic to a substance. The RAST test detects levels of antibodiesto particular allergens. The test is expensive to perform and results areusually not available for about two weeks.
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Cough And Cold Medicines
Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.
Always check to see if any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines you are taking contain acetaminophen. If they do, make sure the acetaminophen you are taking in your cold medicine plus any other acetaminophen you may be taking is not higher than the daily recommended dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much you can take every day.
What Causes Pneumonia In A Child
Pneumonia is most often caused by bacteria or viruses. Some of these bacteria and viruses can be spread by direct contact with a person who is already infected with them.
Common bacteria and viruses that may cause pneumonia are:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Mycoplasma pneumonia. This often causes a mild form of the illness called walking pneumonia.
- Group B streptococcus
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Respiratory syncytial virus . This is most often seen in children younger than 5 years old.
- Parainfluenza virus
Pneumonia may sometimes be caused by fungi.
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What Is Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a lung disease causing inflammation of the lung tissue. This inflammation makes breathing difficult. It can lead to irreversible lung scarring over time.
HP results from breathing in specific environmental allergens. Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction in the body. These allergens may be present at home, at work, or in nature. Bird feathers and droppings, and household mold are examples of common allergens.
How Can You Prevent Pneumonia
Experts recommend immunization for children and adults. Children get the pneumococcal vaccine as part of their routine shots. If you are 65 or older or you have a long-term health problem, it’s a good idea to get a pneumococcal vaccine. It may not keep you from getting pneumonia. But if you do get pneumonia, you probably won’t be as sick. You can also get an influenza vaccine to prevent the flu, because sometimes people get pneumonia after having the flu.
You can also lower your chances of getting pneumonia by staying away from people who have the flu, respiratory symptoms, or chickenpox. You may get pneumonia after you have one of these illnesses. Wash your hands often. This helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that may cause pneumonia.
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Whats The Connection Between Asthma And Pneumonia
People who have chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma may be at higher risk of developing pneumonia.
If you have asthma and get the flu, your symptomsand your complicationsmay be worse than they are for someone who doesnt have asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , people with asthma who get the flu are more likely to develop pneumonia as a complication.
One of the treatments for asthma is inhaled corticosteroids. According to one study, these medications may themselves increase the risk of respiratory infections and pneumonia.
Some of the key differences between the conditions can be seen in the table below.
Pneumonia can be viral or bacterial:
- Viral pneumonia symptoms start out much like those of the flu and include fever, muscle pain, and dry cough. As it progresses, the cough gets worse and you may produce mucus. Shortness of breath and fever can follow.
- Bacterial pneumonia symptoms include a temperature that could go as high as 105°F . Such a high fever can lead to confusion and delirium. Your pulse and breathing rates may rise. Your nail beds and lips may turn blue due to lack of oxygen.
Researchers arent sure exactly what causes asthma. There may be an inherited tendency to develop asthma. There may also be environmental factors.
Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of things, such as:
- viruses, including the flu virus
Doctors Warn Untreated Allergy Issues Could Lead To Pneumonia
- May 18, 2010
CHATTANOOGA – The beautiful weather can lead to horrible problems for allergy sufferers.
“Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, congested nose, congested head, congested chest.” A stroll outside when the pollen level is high can kick off April Brown’s allergies. “Sinus infections, I’ve had bronchitis, I’ve had colds that turned into bronchitis.”
“There’s a lot of allergies because the tree pollen in this area is very, very high but during this time of year we see a lot of over lap between winter colds and summer colds as well,” explains pediatrician Dr. Chris Dreiling.
This doctor’s office stays busy with coughing kids coming in with upper respiratory problems.
Four-year-old Haley checked in with croup.
“She, almost every year, after we get the croup, we end up with at least one ear infection, if not two,” says Haley’s mother, Angela Ponce.
With more patients earlier in the season, doctors worry that the uptick in upper respiratory problems, if untreated, could turn into more cases of pneumonia.
“That’s what you absolutely don’t want to see,” says Dr. Dreiling. “That can put a child into the hospital. It’s much more dangerous than other sorts of complications.”
Doctors say if the allergies are clobbering you, use a saline wash to clean your sinuses out. And try showering before going to bed to wash all the pollen off.
Of course if you still have concerns or problems, check with a local allergist.
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How Is It Treated
Antibiotics are the usual treatment, because the organism may not be found. But if the pneumonia is caused by a virus, antivirals may be given. Sometimes, antibiotics may be used to prevent complications.
Antibiotics usually cure pneumonia caused by bacteria. Be sure to take the antibiotics exactly as instructed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Pneumonia can make you feel very sick. But after you take antibiotics, you should start to feel much better, although you will probably not be back to normal for several weeks. Call your doctor if you do not start to feel better after 2 to 3 days of antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you feel worse.
There are things you can do to feel better during your treatment. Get plenty of rest and sleep, and drink lots of liquids. Do not smoke. If your cough keeps you awake at night, talk to your doctor about using cough medicine.
You may need to go to the hospital if you have bad symptoms, a weak immune system, or another serious illness.
Pneumonia Symptoms And Causes
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, including bacteria, viruses, airborne irritants, and fungi. When these germs enter the lungs, they can overpower the immune system and invade nearby lung tissues, which are very delicate.
Once infected, the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus, which causes coughing, fever, chills, and breathing problems.
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Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
- Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine In Babies
Mild side effects of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , which is the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to babies under the age of 2, include:
- a decreased appetite
- redness and swelling at the site of the injection
- feeling sleepy or not sleeping well
Serious side effects of the PCV vaccine are rare, and include:
- a high temperature, possibly leading to convulsions
- allergic reactions, such as an itchy skin rash
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Are People With Asthma At Higher Risk For Getting Pneumococcal Pneumonia
Pneumococcal pneumonia can infect anyone, but we do know that some people are at greater risk. This includes children under the age of two or adults over the age of 65 and all people with:
- Sickle cell disease, no spleen, HIV, cancer, or another condition that weakens the immune system
- people who smoke
In Older Adults And Children
Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms, such as having no fever or having a cough with no mucus . The major sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how clearly they think or when a lung disease they already have gets worse.
In children, symptoms may depend on age:
- In infants younger than 1 month of age, symptoms may include having little or no energy , feeding poorly, grunting, or having a fever.
- In children, symptoms of pneumonia are often the same as in adults. Your doctor will look for signs such as a cough and a faster breathing rate.
Some conditions with symptoms similar to pneumonia include bronchitis, COPD, and tuberculosis.
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How Common Is Farmer’s Lung
There is little information on the exact number of people with Farmer’s Lung in Canada. Studies show that incidence varies from place to place. The disease seems to occur in about 2 to 10 percent of farm workers, depending on the region. In some areas, blood tests have shown that 20 to 40 percent of farm workers have antibodies that react with antigens responsible for Farmer’s Lung. This test indicates that people have had at least an initial exposure to moldy dust.
The disease is most common in regions with wet weather at harvest time. Farmer’s Lung is also more common on dairy farms, especially those not equipped with automated equipment for handling hay or feed. Incidents of Farmer’s Lung occur most often in late winter or early spring when stored hay or grain is used to feed livestock.
Causes Of Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia can be caused by viruses or bacteria. According to the American Lung Association, most cases are caused by M. pneumoniae, a common type of bacteria that usually affects children and adults under the age of 40. M. pneumoniae infections tend to peak in summer and early fall but can happen throughout the year.
Chlamydophila pneumoniae can also cause walking pneumonia. Infections from this type of bacteria are common in all four seasons. It often spreads in crowded environments, like college dorms and long-term care facilities.
Adults and children can also contract walking pneumonia from viruses. Respiratory syncytial virus is a frequent cause of walking pneumonia in young kids, while adults tend to get the viral form of the disease from the influenza virus.
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How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.