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.
Things You Should Know About Pneumonia
- By Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus, which makes it harder to breathe. The most common symptoms are cough that may be dry or produce phlegm, fever, chills and fatigue. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the chest. and shortness of breath. Signs that indicate a more severe infection are shortness of breath, confusion, decreased urination and lightheadedness. In the U.S., pneumonia accounts for 1.3 visits to the Emergency Department, and 50,000 deaths annually.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect people around the world, pneumonia has become an even larger health concern. Some people infected with the COVID-19 have no symptoms, while others may experience fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell.
The more severe symptoms of COV-19, such as high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, usually mean significant lung involvement. The lungs can be damaged by overwhelming COVID-19 viral infection, severe inflammation, and/or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. COVID-19 can lead to long lasting lung damage.
Here are other important facts you should know about pneumonia:,
Youre In Your Golden Years
When sorting out whether its strep, the flu, a cold, or pneumonia vs. COVID-19, consider your age. Elderly folks are 23 times as likely to die from COVID-19 than people under the age of 65. If youre up in years and noticing the first signs of illness, a quick search for, flu and COVID-19 testing near me is your best bet.
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What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia
People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.
Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:
- General decline in quality of life for months or years
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.
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Viral Vs Bacterial Pneumonia
Different causes will produce different symptoms of pneumonia. Viral pneumonia usually causes milder symptoms, such as a dry cough and light chest congestion. Bacterial pneumonia is known to cause more severe symptoms, such as chest pain, difficult breathing, a high or persistent fever, and greenish or yellowish phlegm. When pneumonia develops as a complication of flu, it is more likely to be bacterial rather than viral pneumonia.
Symptom Time Frame
You should seek medical care if your symptoms last longer than three to five days, especially if they are severe. Diagnostic tests can be performed in a doctors office to determine whether you have flu or pneumonia, and which type of pneumonia you may have. Test results will determine the most effective course of treatment.
When you think you have the flu or pneumonia, or if you simply wish to get a flu vaccination, never hesitate to make an appointment with a family practitioner, contact ARcare at 550-4719. We have been providing accessible medical and dental care in Arkansas since 1986, and our staff is on call 24 hours a day.
When To Contact A Doctor
It is important to contact a doctor if a person believes that they or a member of their family is experiencing symptoms of pneumonia. While some people may be able to recover at home without medical assistance, others may need medication or hospitalization.
People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- breathing difficulties
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Coronavirus Update: How To Contact A Gp
It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:
- visit their website
Treatment will depend on the cause of your chest infection.
It will either be caused by:
- a virus this usually clears up by itself after a few weeks and antibiotics will not help
- bacteria a GP may prescribe antibiotics
Antibiotics are only used to treat bacterial chest infections. They’re not used for treating viral chest infections, like flu or viral bronchitis. This is because antibiotics do not work for viral infections.
A sample of your mucus may need to be tested to see what’s causing your chest infection.
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.
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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.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
The faster you get treatment, the faster you will get over pneumonia. This is especially true for the very young, for people older than 65, and for anyone with other long-lasting health problems, such as asthma.
911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
- Have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing, is increasing in intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attack.
- Have such bad trouble breathing that you are worried you will not have the strength or ability to keep breathing.
- Cough up large amounts of blood.
- Feel that you may faint when you sit up or stand.
if you have:
- A cough that produces blood-tinged or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs.
- A fever with shaking chills.
- Difficult, shallow, fast breathing with shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Frequently brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs and lasts longer than 2 days. Do not confuse mucus from your lungs with mucus running down the back of your throat from your nasal passages . Post-nasal drainage is not a worry.
- Occurs with a fever of 38.3Â°C or higher and brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs .
- Causes you to vomit a lot.
- Continues longer than 4 weeks.
Also call your doctor if you have new chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing and if you have other symptoms of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
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Who Is At Risk
Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world but is more common in low- and middle-income countries where fewer people get pneumococcal vaccine. In more temperate climates, pneumococcal disease is more common during winter and early spring. In tropical climates with dry and rainy seasons, pneumococcal disease tends to occur more in the dry season.
Travelers are more likely to get pneumococcal disease if they spend time in crowded settings or in close contact with children in countries where pneumococcal vaccine is not routinely used.
How Is Pneumonia Treated
If doctors think a person has pneumonia, they will do a physical exam and might order a chest X-ray and blood tests. People with bacterial or atypical pneumonia will probably be given antibiotics to take at home. The doctor also will recommend getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids.
Some people with pneumonia need to be hospitalized to get better usually babies, young kids, and people older than 65. However, hospital care may be needed for a teen who:
- already has immune system problems
- is dangerously dehydrated or is vomiting a lot and can’t keep fluids and medicine down
- has had pneumonia many times
- has skin that’s blue or pale, which is a sign that the lungs are not getting enough oxygen.
When pneumonia patients are hospitalized, treatment might include intravenous antibiotics and respiratory therapy . In more severe cases, people might need to go to the intensive care unit .
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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.
What Increases Your Risk
You are more likely to get pneumonia if you:
- Smoke. Cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for pneumonia in healthy young people.
- Have another medical condition, especially lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
- Are younger than 1 year of age or older than 65.
- Have an impaired immune system.
- Take medicine called a proton pump inhibitor that reduces the amount of stomach acid.footnote 3, footnote 4
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Recently had a cold or the flu.
You are more likely to have complications of pneumonia and need to go to the hospital if you:
- Are older than 65.
- Have some other illness , or have gone to the hospital for a medical problem within the last 3 months.
- Have had your spleen removed or do not have a working spleen .
- Have an alcohol use problem.
- Have a weak immune system.
- Reside in a place where people live close together, such as a university dorm or nursing home.
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What Is The Common Cold
The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract . Symptoms can include a runny or stuffy nose and a mild fever. Most colds are harmless and healthy adults can have up to 2-3 colds a year.
Many different viruses can cause the common cold. Most people recover in 7-10 days without requiring medical attention, however, cold symptoms can last longer in smokers. You should seek medical care if your symptoms are getting worse or do not improve in a week or so.
Signs Of Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia or atypical pneumonia is a bacterial infection that mostly occurs in the lower, but may also affect the upper, respiratory tract. The condition is less severe than other types of pneumonia, and the symptoms are treatable with rest and over-the-counter medications. Many people confuse walking pneumonia with the common flu because they have nearly identical symptoms, and though the former often lasts longer, it generally resolves within a few weeks at most. Usually, symptoms start to develop within two weeks of exposure, though in some cases, the bacteria can incubate for up to a month.
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What Is Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae . People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
- Brain and spinal cord tissue
Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death. You can find a full list of symptoms for each part of the body that is affected on the symptoms and complications of pneumococcal disease page.
How Is Walking Pneumonia Different From Regular Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia differs from typical pneumonia in several ways, including:
- Walking pneumonia is a milder form of pneumonia.
- Walking pneumonia usually does not require bed rest or hospitalization.
- Walking pneumonia is usually caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Typical pneumonia is most commonly caused by _Streptococcus _pneumonia or influenza virus or rhinovirus.
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When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
Are The Symptoms Of Covid 19 And Bronchitis Similar
Both acute bronchitis and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses and can have similar symptoms. Acute bronchitis is caused by many different types of viruses and can develop after a common cold or upper respiratory infection. COVID-19 is caused by a type of coronavirus which has caused the global pandemic in 2020 and beyond.
Symptoms that are common to acute bronchitis and COVID-19 include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, fever, chills, and body aches. COVID-19 can also cause symptoms such as loss of smell, loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children vary from child to child and also depend on your childs age, cause of the infection, and severity of their illness.
Usual symptoms include:
- Cry more than usual. Are restless or more fussy.
Adolescents have the same symptoms as adults, including:
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
Newborns are at greater risk of pneumonia caused by bacteria present in the birth canal. In young children, viruses are the main cause of pneumonia.
Pneumonia caused by bacteria tends to happen suddenly, starting with fever and fast breathing. Symptoms appear more slowly and tend to be less severe when pneumonia is caused by viruses.