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
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.
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.
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Warning Signs Your Lungs Are Trying To Give You Post
Your lungs can give you some signs which may signal that something is wrong within your body. Especially when it comes to pneumonia, there are certain signs which may help you spot the condition fast and start the treatment before it is too late for you to save your lungs. According to the experts, the onset of pneumonia can be quite sudden, as in without any prior signals. This is why it is important for you to track the actions of your lungs and understand the abnormalities going on inside your system. COVID-19 wrecks havoc on the lungs, and these conditions thereafter can lead to symptoms such as a phlegm-producing cough. Check out for these subtle, yet warning symptoms of pneumonia post-COVID recovery.
How Do The Lungs Work
Your lungs main job is to get oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. This happens during breathing. You breathe 12 to 20 times per minute when you are not sick. When you breathe in, air travels down the back of your throat and passes through your voice box and into your windpipe . Your trachea splits into two air passages . One bronchial tube leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung. For the lungs to perform their best, the airways need to be open as you breathe in and out. Swelling and mucus can make it harder to move air through the airways, making it harder to breathe. This leads to shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than normal.
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The Main Causes Of Pneumonia:
- Exposure to a germ
- Weakened immune system
Some of the germs that cause pneumonia are easily spread from one person to another. They are carried in the nose and throat of an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spray drops of infected saliva into the air around them. A person who breathes in that air can get pneumonia.
There are many things you can do to lower your risk of getting pneumonia. Not smoking is an important way to help prevent pneumonia. People who smoke, and children whose parents smoke, are at a higher risk of getting pneumonia.
Pneumococcal vaccinations help protect you against invasive pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis .
Ask your health-care provider about getting the pneumococcal vaccination. For details on when the pneumococcal vaccinations are required, starting at two months of age, see Ontarios Routine Immunization Schedule. Some adults may need it every five years. Prevention of pneumonia through immunization is even more important now since some infections have become more resistant to antibiotics.
How To Know If You Have Pneumonia Or Bronchitis
Pneumonia and bronchitis are both respiratory conditions that can affect your breathing, cause a painful cough, and be accompanied by cold or flu-like symptoms. What is the difference between pneumonia and bronchitis? One big difference is where it develops in your body. Pneumonia develops in your lungs, while bronchitis develops in the airways that lead to your lungs. Pneumonia can be viral and fungal, but it is most commonly bacterial in adults, which means it can be treated with antibiotics. On the other hand, bronchitis that is typically viral cannot be treated with antibiotics. Compared to acute bronchitis, pneumonia typically has more severe symptoms. However, its important to keep an eye on bronchitis which can turn into pneumonia.
Despite this information, some of the similar symptoms can still make it difficult to know whether you or someone you care for has bronchitis or pneumonia. A doctor can make an accurate diagnosis, but there are a few things that can help you further understand the symptoms of both.
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Preventing Pneumonia With Vaccine
While anyone can get pneumonia, infants under the age of two, adults over the age of 65, and people who have chronic medical conditions are most at risk due to a weaker immune system that may not be strong enough to fight the infection. Your health insurance coverage, including Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage , covers some vaccines and immunizations that can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia, including:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
Can You Catch Pneumonia More Than Once
Yes. Pneumonia is caused by many different microbes, and so getting it once does not protect you from getting it again. If you get pneumonia more than once you may need to have more investigations to understand why this has happened. It could be due to a problem in your chest or your immune system, and you may be referred to a specialist.
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Treatment And Medication Options For Pneumonia
A lot of treatment aspects, as well as outcome, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have, says Dr. Barron. Sometimes youll be fine just resting, but if you have things like trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.
Your doctor will outline a plan that’s specific to you, considering the type of pneumonia you have, the severity of the condition, your age, and your overall health. From there, you’ll know whether you can be treated at home or need to go to the hospital, and whether you require antibiotics.
Why Is Pneumonia Dangerous What Are The Possible Complications Of Leaving This Condition Untreated
Pneumonia can usually be treated successfully without leading to complications. However, complications like the ones listed below can develop in some patients, especially those in high-risk groups.
Fluid or pus could get accumulated between the covering of the lungs and the inner lining of the chest wall this is called a pleural effusion . A chest tube may be needed to drain the fluid/pus.
Pus might collect in the lung area infected with pneumonia . Rarely this may require surgery.
Bacteria can spread to the bloodstream and other organs. This is a serious complication since the infection can cause the blood pressure to be dangerously low.
Although most people recover from pneumonia, it can be fatal in some cases. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of patients admitted to a general medical ward, and almost 30 percent of patients with severe infection admitted to an intensive care unit can die.
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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.
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:
- Any recent travel
- Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
- Whether you have recently had another illness
Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.
If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:
- Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test on a sample of mucus taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
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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.
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.
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What Are The Signs Of Pneumonia In Children
When children have pneumonia, they can experience the same symptoms asadults including high fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pain in the chest,but they may also complain of stomach pain, ear pain, have a decreased appetiteand be more tired or irritable than usual. If a child has “walkingpneumonia” their symptoms may be milder and can appear like a cold. Someinfants may not appear to have any symptoms beyond being restless and adecreased appetite. In extreme cases of pneumonia, infants and small childrenmay have bluish fingernails, toenails, lips and mouth.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
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How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better
How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:
- Your age
- The cause of your pneumonia
- The severity of your pneumonia
- If you have other at-risk conditions
If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.
Viral Vs Bacterial Pneumonia Symptoms
Although viral and bacterial pneumonia symptoms can be very similar, there are some key differences between the two. The section below outlines some examples.
- Lungs affected: Bacterial pneumonia tends to affect one particular part, or lobe, of a lung, whereas viral pneumonia typically affects both lungs.
- Symptom onset: The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop either suddenly or gradually, whereas symptoms of viral pneumonia typically develop over several days.
- Symptoms: People with bacterial pneumonia usually experience a higher temperature and a wet cough, whereas people with viral pneumonia
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Are There Treatments For Covid
Pneumonia may need treatment in a hospital with oxygen, a ventilator to help you breathe, and intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.
Clinical trials are looking into whether some drugs and treatments used for other conditions might treat severe COVID-19 or related pneumonia, including dexamethasone, a corticosteroid.
The FDA has approved the antiviral remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID. The drug was origininally developed to treat the Ebola virus.
The agency rescinded an emergency use authorization for the anti-malarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid serious concerns about their safety and how well they worked against the virus.
Other Ways To Help Prevent Pneumonia
You also can take the following steps to help prevent pneumonia:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based rubs to kill germs.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking damages your lungs’ ability to filter out and defend against germs. For information about how to quit smoking, read Smoking and Your Heart. Although this resource focuses on heart health, it includes general information about how to quit smoking.
- Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of rest and physical activity and follow a healthy diet. Read more about heart-healthy eating and physical activity.
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Things That You Can Do To Help Your Child At Home Are
- Control the fever with the proper medicine and right strength for the age of your child. Fevers lower than 101° F do not need to be treated unless the child is uncomfortable .
- Give your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- See that your child gets lots of rest.
- Do not give over-the-counter cough medicines or other OTC medicines without asking the health provider first. The child needs to cough and bring up the phlegm. Coughing is the bodys way of clearing the infection from the lungs.
- Avoid exposing your child to tobacco smoke or other irritants in the air.