How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
Do I have a cold or could it be the flu or even pneumonia? Its tough to tell the difference but critical to know when to seek medical care
Watch for these ongoing symptoms that occur in pneumonia:
- Serious congestion or chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A fever of 102 or higher.
- Coughing that produces pus.
Pneumonia symptoms last longer than cold and flu. If your symptoms arent severe, its okay to try such home remedies as getting more rest, drinking more fluids and taking some over-the-counter medicines and see what happens. But if you dont see improvement in your symptoms after three to five days, or if you are experiencing more serious symptoms such as dizziness or severe difficulty breathing, see your healthcare provider. Dont let it go. Pneumonia-like symptoms in very young children or in adults older than 65 are a cause for concern. Also, pneumonia can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated for too long. And always seek immediate care if you experience chest pain or have breathing difficulties.
Trouble In Breathing Due To Inflammed Air Sacs Or Alveoli
You may experience a steady drop in your breathing rate or an unexplained rise in your breathing counts. One may also notice that there is sudden trouble which one may notice every time he/she breathes. This condition is also known as laboured breathing. “The patient may notice that the breathing rate post-COVID recovery has drastically changed. It is either rapid or shallow. One can also find him/herself becoming breathless even while resting,” Dr. Mukherjee told TheHealthSite.com.
What Are The Chances A Pleural Effusion Will Happen Again
My patients always want to know if it will come back, says Dr. Puchalski. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesnt. He explains that the risk of recurrence is based mostly on the cause of the pleural effusion in the first place. For lung cancer patients, he explains, the buildup is likely to occur again.
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Pleural Effusion And Pleurisy
In a person with pleurisy, inflammation can trigger a build-up of fluid between the two membranes. This fluid build up is referred to as a pleural effusion. This can be caused by an overproduction of fluid by one membrane or by the failure of the other membrane to drain the fluid properly.
Pleural effusion may ease the symptoms of pleurisy, since the fluid stops the membranes from grating against each other. However, the build up of fluid around the lungs can cause compression of the lungs and can lead to breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath or rapid breathing. The lack of oxygen may turn areas such as the mouth and fingertips blue .
Apart from pleurisy, other causes of a pleural effusion include cancer, protein deficiencies and some types of heart disease.
Pulmonary Edema Vs Pleural Effusion Vs Pneumonia
Itâs easy to get pulmonary edema mixed up with some other lung conditions.
Unlike pulmonary edema, in which fluid collects inside your lungs, pleural effusion is when it builds up in the layers of tissue that line the outside of your lungs and the inside of your chest. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and a dry cough. It can be caused by problems like heart failure, blood clots, pneumonia, kidney disease, and tuberculosis.
Pneumonia also leads to fluid buildup in the tiny air sacs in your lungs, but itâs caused by an infection with a virus, bacteria, or fungus. Symptoms include chest pain, coughing, fatigue, a fever, shortness of breath, and stomach problems. Pneumonia can sometimes cause pulmonary edema.
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What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Anyone can experience complications from pneumonia. However, people in high-risk groups are more likely to develop complications, including:
- Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can make breathing difficult. Pneumonia plus an existing lung disorder can make breathing even more difficult. Breathing difficulties may require a hospital stay to receive oxygen therapy or breathing and healing assistance with the use of a breathing machine .
- Fluid buildup in the lungs : Pneumonia can cause a buildup in the fluid between the membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. It is a serious condition that makes breathing difficult. Pleural effusion can be treated by draining excess fluid with a catheter, chest tube or by surgery.
- Bacteria in the bloodstream : The bacteria that cause pneumonia can leave your lungs and enter your bloodstream, spreading the infection to other organs. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
- Lung abscess. A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the lung that is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated by draining the pus with a long needle or removing it by surgery.
Who Is At Risk For Getting Fluids In The Lungs From Pneumonia
Medical research has identified different groups of people that are at a higher risk of getting fluid buildup in the lungs from pneumonia.
Here are those gruops:
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Fluid In The Lungs Causes And Treatment
Posted by Dr. Chris
Fluid in the lungs specifically refers to a condition known as pulmonary edema. However, the term may sometimes be confused with other conditions like fluid outside or aroun the lungs which is pleural effusion. Both causes characteristic symptoms, like a bubbling sound in the lungs when breathing. The term fluid in the lungs is also used to refer to mucus inside the lungs. Mucus or phlegm is a thick, sticky secretion while lung water is a thin fluid. Other fluid accumulation may be the result of blood or pus.
The lungs are located in the thorax and lies on either side of the heart. Air travels through the air passages, which includes the nose, pharynx , trachea and bronchi. The lung tissue is made of small air sacs, known as alveoli, which is thin and surrounded by blood capillaries.
The structure of the respiratory system allows for an exchange of gases so that essential oxygen is taken into the body and waste products, along with gases, are excreted through the exhaled air. The lung is enclosed in an air tight pleural cavity, with a small pleural space separating the lung from the chest wall. This cavity is lined by the pleural lining, which also produces a little pleural fluid to reduce friction between the chest wall and lungs during breathing.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pleural Effusion
The symptoms of pleural effusion can range from none to shortness of breath to coughing, among others. The greater the build-up of fluid, the more likely symptoms will be noticeable. In addition to excess fluid, the tissue around the lung may become inflamed, which can cause chest pain. In extreme cases, a person can have up to four liters of excess fluid in the chest. It’s very uncomfortable. Imagine trying to breathe with two soda bottles pushed up against your lungs, Dr. Puchalski says.
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How To Spot Fluid On The Lung Symptoms
Fluid on the lung symptoms can be caused by many different difficulties. The most common is some form of pneumonia, but it can also be caused by lung cancer or most rarely, mesothelioma. As a result, it is wise to pay careful attention to fluid on the lung symptoms and get checked out by a physician quickly.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Listen for raspy or rattled breathing.
Especially if the rasp or rattle seems to be deep within the chest this can be a sign of fluid on a lung. It may also, of course, be higher up and associated with the bronchial tubes. A physician will be able to determine where it is located.
Pay attention to a persistent cough.
Do not write off a persistent cough as mere allergies or something you have to deal with. A persistent cough, either productive or unproductive, could be a sign of fluid on the lung. This could be an early indicator of lung cancer or other serious diseases and needs a full diagnosis.
Look for fever, aches, and fatigue.
These flu like symptoms can also present themselves when a patient has fluid on the lung. When they do, it often means that the patient has viral pneumonia, or is fighting an infection in the bronchial tubes and/or lungs. If the fever rises over 102 seek medical attention immediately.
Notice and report shortness of breath.
- See more tips on identifying fluid on the lung symptoms below.
How To Not Let Your Body Catch Pneumonia After Recovering From Covid
Pneumonia is extremely common among those whose lungs are too weak or vulnerable to virus attacks. COVID can damage your lungs to a great extent, thus taking care of this organ post-COVID is important to not let your body catch pneumonia. To keep it simple, Dr. Mukherjee says that the best way to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia are certain lifestyle changes, including turning into a non-smoker , limiting alcohol intake, getting a flu-shot and taking the jabs against COVID-19 as well .
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Treatment For Fluid On The Lung
When cancer affects the lungs, fluid can sometimes collect between the sheets of tissue that cover the outside of the lung and the lining of the chest cavity. These sheets of tissue are called the pleura.
Doctors call this fluid collection a pleural effusion.
The fluid stops the lung from fully expanding when you breathe. So as it builds up, the collected fluid causes shortness of breath.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your signs and symptoms and when they began. Your doctor will also ask whether you have any risk factors for pneumonia. Your doctor also may ask about:
- Exposure to sick people at home, school, or work or in a hospital
- Flu or pneumonia vaccinations
- Exposure to birds and other animals
During your physical exam, your doctor will check your temperature and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope.
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Treatment Of Pulmonary Edema
Pulmonary edema is a serious condition that requires quick treatment. Oxygen is always the first line of treatment for this condition. Your healthcare team may prop you up and deliver 100 percent oxygen through an oxygen mask, nasal cannula, or positive pressure mask.
Your doctor will also diagnose the cause of pulmonary edema and prescribe the appropriate treatment for the underlying cause.
Depending on your condition and the cause of your pulmonary edema, your doctor may also give:
- Preload reducers. These help decrease pressures from the fluid going into your heart and lungs. Diuretics also help reduce this pressure by making you urinate, which eliminates fluid.
- Afterload reducers. These medications dilate your blood vessels and take pressure off your heart.
- Heart medications. These will control your pulse, reduce high blood pressure, and relieve pressure in arteries and veins.
- Morphine. This narcotic is used to relieve anxiety and shortness of breath. But fewer doctors today use morphine due to the risks.
In severe cases, people with pulmonary edema may need intensive or critical care.
In other cases of pulmonary edema, you may need treatment to help you breathe. A machine will deliver oxygen under pressure to help get more air into your lungs. Sometimes this can be done with a mask or cannula, also called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure .
Your doctor may need to insert an endotracheal tube, or breathing tube, down your throat and use mechanical ventilation.
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
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Who Is Most At Risk For Getting Pneumonia
People who have an increased risk of pneumonia include:
- People over the age of 65 and infants under age 2. The weakening immune system of older people makes them less able to fight off illnesses. Similarly, the immune system of infants is still developing and not at full-strength, making them more susceptible to infection.
- People with a health-caused weakened immune system. Examples include:
- People who are receiving chemotherapy
- Transplanted organ recipients
- People who have HIV/AIDS
- People with autoimmune disease and who are taking medications that suppress the immune system.
Is Pneumonia Treated Any Differently In Children
Essentially no. Just like adults, bacterial causes of pneumonia in children may be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are not used to treat pneumonia caused by viruses. Flu-related pneumonia may be treated with antiviral medicine if caught early in the course of illness. Most cases of pneumonia are treated with comfort care measures that ease symptoms. These may include:
- Drinking more fluids.
- Getting more rest.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines for cough and acetaminophen for fever. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicines to your child.
- Using a cool mist humidifier in your childs room.
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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
Urgent Advice: Get Urgent Medical Attention If:
- you have severe symptoms such as rapid breathing, chest pain or confusion
Pneumonia affects around 8 in 1,000 adults each year. It’s more widespread in autumn and winter.
Pneumonia can affect people of any age. It’s more common and can be more serious in certain groups of people, such as the very young or the elderly. People in these groups may need hospital treatment if they develop pneumonia.
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Common Signs And Symptoms Of The Condition
There are many signs and symptoms of pulmonary edema. Your elderly loved one may experience some or all of the following:
- Shortness of Breath
- Blue-Tinged Lips or Body
- Excessive Sweating
If your loved ones pulmonary edema is chronic, the symptoms and symptoms are less severe but will occur more often. They include:
- Shortness of Breath, especially when your loved ones are physically active
- Weight Gain
- Swelling in The Lower Extremities
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
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Fluid In The Lungs From Pneumonia
Fluid accumulation in your chest is a known complication of pneumonia. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with pneumonia associated with fluid in the lungs, you can read all about it here. I have personally treated several patients over the last 15 years with fluid in the lungs from pneumonia.
Based on my personal experience as well as a review of the current medical literature, I will explain what it means when you have fluid in the lungs from pneumonia, who is at risk, and what options you have to get rid of that fluid.