Saturday, September 23, 2023

How Do Doctors Test For Pneumonia

When Do I Need A Sputum Culture

Medical staff test new kit to diagnose pneumonia in children

Your doctor probably will ask you a series of questions about your cough. Some of them might include:

  • How long has it been going on?
  • How long do your coughing spells last?
  • Does anything come up when you cough?
  • Is it worse during a certain time of day?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Have you lost weight?
  • Do you have night sweats?

Your answers to these and other questions will give your doctor some idea of what the problem is.

But you might need to give a sputum culture if:

How Can You Get Your Covid

The goals of mass testing are to accurately test most people to determine their status in relation to this infectious disease so they can go forward with their lives.

The large majority of people fall into the categories below:

  • People that have COVID-19, ,
  • Some results may also show whether or not the infected patient’s immune system seems to be responding well or poorly to the virus
  • People not yet exposed to the virus,
  • People that have immunologically responded and have a good antibody response ,
  • People able to go back to work and be unaffected by the virus and currently not transmitting the virus, even if they were positive for the virus at some point in the past.

The results of these two different COVID-19 tests, run in tandem, can determine the persons status as described below:

  • A positive gene test means the person is actively shedding virus and is contagious
  • A negative gene test means the person is not shedding virus
  • With two negative genetic tests done 24 hours apart, according to CDC, the person is not contagious , meaning the person either has never been infected or is no longer shedding virus.
  • If immunoglobulin tests are all negative, the test indicates the person has not been recently exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
  • If the test shows only IgM, the person is likely in the early stage of the virus infection
  • If IgM and IgG are positive, the person is likely in the middle stage of infection,
  • What’s The Link Between Covid

    A quick refresher first: COVID-19 is a serious respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. It can lead to a range of intense symptoms, including a cough, fever, trouble breathing, and loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Pneumonia is an infection of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people, the CDC says.

    Some patients with COVID-19 develop pneumoniain fact, the World Health Organization first called the virus -infected pneumonia , before shortening the name to COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was also first identified in Wuhan, China due to cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology,” or unknown cause, the WHO reported in January 2020.

    It’s not uncommon to develop pneumonia as the result of any virus, Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells Health. In the case of COVID-19, the virus can damage your alveoli and cause fluid to build in your lungs as your body fights the infection, he explains. That can also lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome , which is a serious form of respiratory failure that makes the alveoli fill with fluid. “The immune system starts attacking the lung itself, which results in ARDS,” Dr. Casciari says.

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    What Are Immunoglobulin Detection

    Immunoglobulin detection tests are based on the qualitative detection of IgM and IgG that are specifically generated by the body in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    IgM is usually the first, specific antibody type generated by the body in response to infection. Then, the IgG antibody type is generated and replaces IgM as the predominant antibody in the response to infection.

    IgM and IgG fight infections by targeting specific antigens on the surface of the SARS-nCoV-2 virus.

    In general, immunoglobulin tests use specific viral antigens to detect the IgM and/or IgG antibodies against those antigens.

    Here is a sample of how the test works:

    • Collect 2-3 drops of fresh blood/serum or plasma and place it in a sample container and place 2-3 drops of provided buffer in the same container
    • The cassette allows the diluted sample to move through the cassette by capillary action
    • The cassette has labeled SARS-CoV-2 antigen that may bind chemically with either IgM or IgG thus, forming an antigen/antibody complexes of antigen/IgG and/or antigen/IgM
    • After that reaction, the antigen/antibody product passes over anti-IgM and anti-IgG antibodies that are immobilized in a line within the cassette
    • The anti-IgM and/or anti-IgG then will capture the specific complex and signal a result if either complex is bound to the immobile anti-IgM or anti-IgG
    • The results need to be read after 10 minutes and no more than 15 minutes
    • A third line is a control line it indicates that the test is working properly

    What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia

    Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

    Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.

    You are more likely to have complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune system, or have a serious medical problem like diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications may include:

    • Acute respiratory distress syndrome . This is a severe form of respiratory failure.

    • Lung abscesses. These are pockets of pus that form inside or around the lung. They may need to be drained with surgery

    • Respiratory failure. This requires the use of a breathing machine or ventilator.

    • This is when the infection gets into the blood. It may lead to organ failure.

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    Other Ways To Prevent Pneumonia

    You can take the following steps to help prevent pneumonia:

    • Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs.
    • Dont smoke. Smoking prevents your lungs from properly filtering out and defending your body against germs. For information about how to quit smoking, visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. These resources include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
    • Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of physical activity and follow a healthy eating plan. Read more about heart-healthy living.
    • If you have problems swallowing, eat smaller meals of thickened foodand sleep with the head of your bed raised up. These steps can help you avoid getting food, drink, or saliva into your lungs.
    • If you have a planned surgery, your doctor may recommend that you dont eat for 8 hours or drink liquids for 2 hours before your surgery. This can help prevent food or drink from getting into your airway while you are sedated.
    • If your immune system is impaired or weakened, your doctor may recommend you take antibiotics to prevent bacteria from growing in your lungs.

    Critical Role Of Pneumococcal Vaccine In Preventing Pneumonia

    In children aged three months to four years, the most common type of bacterial pneumonia is Strep. pneumoniae. In children greater than age four, it remains in the top three most common types. The pneumococcal vaccine series, started at two months of age, significantly reduces the rates of bacterial pneumonia from Strep. Pneumoniae. The vaccine is usually administered during wellness or prevention visits and cannot be given to a child with a fever. This emphasizes the need for healthcare access globally.6

    With global vaccination rates currently plateauing, the challenges of diagnosing and treating community acquired pneumonia are even more pertinent for prevention of severe respiratory illness. Vaccine uptake challenges can be overcome with global measures to increase the access and use of vaccines. Addressing vaccine use and providing education about common pneumonia symptoms can aid in early diagnosis of pneumonia and lower the rate of severe respiratory illness and prolonged hospitalization.


  • World Health Organization Health Topics. Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals: National programs and systems on improving vaccination demand and addressing hesitancy. 17 June 2020 update.

  • Popovsky EY, Florin TA. Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Childhood. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. 2020 B978-0-08-102723-3.00013-5. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-102723-3.00013-5

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    Can Pneumonia Be Prevented

    Check with your healthcare provider about getting immunizations. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. Because of that, getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.

    There is also a pneumococcal vaccine. It will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get this shot.

    The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions.

    Fat In Lung Immune Cells

    Patient Diagnosed With Pneumonia Did Not Qualify For COVID-19 Test | NBC News NOW

    A major cause of VAPI appears to be inhaled oil. Since late 2018, street-market vape cartridge manufacturers have been cutting THC cartridges with larger and larger amounts of a product known as a thickener, which consists mainly of a form of vitamin E oil known as tocopheryl-acetate.

    VAPI symptoms are generally consistent with whats called lipoid pneumonia. Doctors can confirm it by taking a sample of fluid from the lung, and looking for oil in immune cells.

    If you go down with the bronchoscope and you actually look at the cells, more often than not they seemed to be filled with fat, which suggests oil inhalation, says Feagins. The actual cause and effect, we dont know yet.

    Pulmonoligists will tell you inhaling oil can injure your lungs. A pharmaceutical chemist told Leafly that inhaled vitamin E oil can block the fluid lining of the lungs, preventing gas transfer. You suffocate in your own body.

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    Case History #: California Pest Control Technician

    This case was also reported by Kathleen Doheny at WebMD. Nathan Fagundez is a 28-year-old agricultural pest control technician living in Hanford, CA, an agricultural hub between Fresno and Bakersfield. Hanford, CA is the first place a California physician identified VAPI in the state.

    A regular cannabis consumer, Fagundez started vaping about a year ago in order to cut down on the odor generated by smoking flower.

    He bought about two grams a week, always on the street market. Fagundez estimated that his street carts cost $40, versus $100 for a tested one from a state-licensed California retailer.

    Earlier this summer, he told WedMD, I went with a buddy to pick up carts from LA, and discovered that the seller had a whole lab in his garage.

    Soon after, Fagundez experienced extreme shortness of breath. Hed seen reports about vaping and lung damage on TV and so he checked himself into the hospital. On Aug. 13, medical staff at Adventist Health hospital in Hanford found his blood oxygen levels so low they couldnt believe I was still breathing.

    Fagundez spent 16 days in the hospital, where he was put on oxygen and received steroid treatments.

    After his hospital discharge Fagundez recovered at home, which required the use of a portable oxygen tank. I bring it for emergencies, if I exert too much, he told WebMD.

    Follow Your Treatment Plan

    It is important that you take all your medicines as your doctor prescribes. If you are using antibiotics, continue to take the medicine until it is all gone. You may start to feel better before you finish the medicine, but you should continue to take it. If you stop too soon, the bacterial infection and your pneumonia may come back. It may also become resistant to the antibiotic, making treatment more difficult.

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    Inpatient Vs Outpatient Care

    The costs of hospitalization and potential for nosocomial infections and thromboembolic events necessitate careful consideration of risk factors for severe CAP when considering appropriate level of care .6,20 Decision support tools such as the Pneumonia Severity Index assist in predicting the risk of 30-day mortality and severe CAP requiring ICU admission. Table 5 summarizes the more widely adopted CURB-65 and CRB-65 prediction scores,6,31 which have greater ease of use, but weaker predictive power for 30-day mortality.24,31,32 Among low-risk patients , the LR for 30-day mortality using the index is 0.08, and 0.21 using CURB-65.31 Sensitivity for predicting ICU admission was reported as 74% vs. 39% to 50% for Pneumonia Severity Index vs. CURB-65, respectively.24,32

    CURB-65 and CRB-65 Mortality Prediction Tools for Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia

    Prognostic variables


    Urea nitrogen level > 20 mg per dL *

    Respiratory rate 30 breaths per minute

    Blood pressure

    Age 65 years

    30-day mortality for CURB-65


    30-day observed mortality by score


    LR+ = positive likelihood ratio LR = negative likelihood ratio.

    *Excluded in CRB-65.

    Derived from a pooled cohort of 15 studies with 1,136 events in a sample of 13,319 individuals.

    Derived from a pooled cohort of nine studies with 55,302 events in a sample of 395,802 individuals.

    Information from references 6 and 31.

    Prognostic variables

    *Excluded in CRB-65.

    Information from references 6 and 31.

    Getting Tested For Pneumonia

    Novel diagnostic tool PLUS accurate for detecting acute ...

    Pneumonia tests are ordered by a doctor and normally performed in a medical setting like a hospital or doctors office. Depending on the type of test, other medical specialists, such as a pulmonologist who focuses on lung conditions, may be a part of your health care team.

    If you have symptoms of pneumonia or have recently been diagnosed with pneumonia, you should talk with your doctor about the most appropriate testing and where it can be performed.

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    How Do The Gene Tests For The Covid

    The first and most prevalent method to detect the virus in individuals is based on detecting genetic material specific to SARS-CoV-2 viruses in a persons nasopharyngeal secretions.

    Although tests kits have a wide variation in their procedures , they all use methods that detect a specific part of the viral genome.

    Here is an example of how one test system accomplishes this:

    • Swabbed tissue is loaded into a standard reaction vial
    • Reagents break open viruses to expose viral genome to other reagents like synthesized RNA that binds to a specific small part of the viral RNA
    • This small bound-up strand of viral genome and reagent is then replicated many times over minutes to hours
    • Then, at the same time, another reagent specifically binds to each replicated genetic complex.
    • This reagent has a bounded marker that when enough replicated complexes are made, the machines can detect the attached marker.
    • For example, the marker may be designed to glow with fluorescence, which the machine can pick up on its sensors.
  • Depending on how many viruses are present in the sample, positive results may occur in minutes to days
  • Conversely, if the test detects no viral material after a fixed time , the result is a negative test
  • 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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    What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia

    • Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
    • If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
    • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
    • Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
    • Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
    • Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.

    If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Vapi

    Are lung ultrasounds accurate to diagnose pneumonia in children?

    On Sept. 13, the federal Centers for Disease Control issued a national advisory letter regarding the VAPI outbreak. That guidance took note of these symptoms, which may present individually or in some combination in VAPI patients:

    • Shortness of breath

    A key feature to look out for is hypoxia, not enough oxygen in the blood. This is because the lungs are failing to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. Hypoxia shows up as feeling tired, nauseous, sick, and dizzy. Suddenly you cant climb the stairs anymore, or walk the dog, or play catch.

    Patients are showing up at the hospital with blood oxygen levels so low that they should be dead.

    Healthcare professionals say the damage done by vaping comes under the category of Bronchiolitis obliterans. Thats a condition defined by the National Institutes of Health as a chemically-induced inflammatory condition that affects the lungs tiniest airways, the bronchioles and results the obstruction of oxygen into the body.

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