When Should I See My Doctor
Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.
Treating Pneumonia In Children
The effectiveness of pneumonia treatment depends on whether the cause was a virus or bacteria. Doctors typically rely on a physical exam and tests, including chest x-rays and blood tests, to diagnose pneumonia. They may request a sputum culture to confirm the presence of a lung infection and use a pulse oximeter to measure your childâs oxygen levels.
If a virus caused a childâs pneumonia, treatment options are more limited. Doctors may recommend rest and medication to keep the childâs fever down if one is present. It’s recommended not to give cough suppressants with codeine or dextromethorphan to children with pneumonia. Coughing helps expel excess mucus and clears the lungs.
Antibiotics can be effective in cases where bacteria cause pneumonia. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics to treat your childâs pneumonia, you should give them the recommended dosage as often as your doctor directs you to. Avoid the temptation to stop using them once your child shows improvement. There may still be bacteria lingering in your childâs lungs, and if you stop giving antibiotics to your child, it may allow for pneumonia to return.
Medical History Review And Physical Exam
Pneumonia testing usually begins with an initial examination by a doctor that includes both a review of your medical history and a physical exam. This process helps the doctor understand your situation, check for signs of pneumonia, and look for the possible complications of an infection.
A medical history review includes a discussion of your current symptoms as well as your overall health and medical history. The doctor will usually ask about how long you have had symptoms and may ask questions about your medications, vaccinations, if you have been around other people who are sick, if you smoke cigarettes, or if you have other health issues that may affect your risk for pneumonia.
A physical exam for pneumonia typically includes using a stethoscope to listen to your lungs. A health care provider may tap on your chest and ask you to take several breaths while they listen. During this exam, the doctor is checking to see if they hear certain sounds that are associated with pneumonia.
Most of the time, additional tests are needed after this clinical evaluation. In some situations, a medical history review and physical exam may be sufficient to diagnose mild cases of pneumonia.
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How Long Is Lung Surgery Recovery
How long does it take to recover from lung surgery? Recovering from lung surgery generally takes most people anywhere from a few weeks to 3 months. Before you leave hospital, youll be given detailed instructions for exercise, medications, follow up appointments, ongoing wound care and resuming normal activities.
Getting Tested For Pneumonia
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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Pcr And Enzyme Immunoassays
It can be difficult to culture a virus. Instead, viral infections are more commonly diagnosed using polymerase chain reaction and enzyme immunoassays. To perform any of these tests, a sample must be collected. Depending on what virus is being considered, this sample can be blood, sputum, nasal secretions, or saliva.
PCR is a test that screens for the presence of specific viral or bacterial DNA in a sample. It is an alternative to serology to screen for atypical bacteria. While results are often available in one to six hours, PCR cannot be performed on-site. It must be processed by a laboratory.
Enzyme immunoassays, however, can be performed as a point of care test with results available in 15 minutes to an hour. These immunoassays use antibodies to detect the presence of specific viral antigens and can screen for multiple viruses at one time.
Pneumonia is a common complication of COVID-19. For COVID-19 testing, the most accurate specimen is collected from the nose. This is the part of the upper respiratory tract where concentrations of the virus may be greatest. A flexible six-inch cotton swab is inserted into the nose and along the back of your throat where it is left in place for 15 seconds.
The same swab is then inserted into the other nostril to maximize how much mucous is collected for the test. Studies are then performed to assess if genetic material from the virus is present.
Medical History And Physical Exam
- Exposure to sick people at home, school, or work or in a hospital
- Flu or pneumonia vaccinations
- Past and current medical conditions and whether any have gotten worse recently
- Recent travel
- Exposure to birds and other animals
During your physical exam, your provider will check your temperature and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope.
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What To Expect By Age And Health
Here is how age can affect your recovery from pneumonia:
- Infants under the age of 6 months are typically hospitalized for pneumonia out of an abundance of caution.
- Children over the age of 6 months are more likely to be treated at home, provided they are typically healthy.
- Older adults may take longer to bounce back from pneumonia since our immune system naturally weakens the older we get, especially if you have a preexisting health condition. Its also more common for the elderly and chronically ill to be hospitalized for pneumonia since the rate of complications and mortality increases for those over the age of 65.
Differences Between Bronchitis And Pneumonia
The common symptoms of these two diseases cough, fever, fatigue and an aching chest are very similar. Bronchitis can even progress to pneumonia in some cases.
But these are two very different diseases affecting different parts of the lungs, says Dr. Tolle. Pneumonia symptoms also are usually much more serious and, in some cases, potentially life-threatening.
The bottom line? If you have symptoms that match either bronchitis and pneumonia and they dont improve within a week, or if the symptoms keep worsening, contact your healthcare provider.
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What Increases Your Risk Factors For Walking Pneumonia
Like pneumonia, the risk for developing walking pneumonia is higher if you are:
- over age of 65 years old
- 2 years old or younger
Since walking pneumonia tends to be mild, some people with the illness choose not to get a formal diagnosis. But other serious diseases can cause symptoms that look like walking pneumonia. If symptoms continue to worsen after a few days, consider checking in with a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment for walking pneumonia depends on whats causing the disease. Walking pneumonia from bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. A healthcare professional may use antiviral medications to treat cases caused by viruses.
For very mild cases of walking pneumonia, treatment may simply involve managing symptoms at home and resting.
How Is Pneumonia Treated
Pneumonia can be serious so its important to get treatment quickly. The main treatment for pneumonia is antibiotics, along with rest and drinking plenty of water. If you have chest pain, you can take pain killers such as paracetamol.
Treatment depends on how severe your pneumonia is. Treatment with antibiotics should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis. If youre admitted to hospital, this should be within 4 hours of admission.
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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.
How Is Walking Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, how long youve had them and if any other family members or people you regularly interact with are also ill with similar symptoms. He or she will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal breath sounds. Your doctor may order chest X-rays to see if there is an infection in your lungs. Your blood or mucus might be tested to determine if your pneumonia is caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, another bacteria, virus or fungus.
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Vaccines To Prevent Pneumonia
Vaccines are available that offer partial protection against pneumonia caused by
People with pneumonia need to remove mucus and secretions from the lungs and may benefit from deep-breathing exercises Breathing exercises Respiratory therapists use several different techniques to help treat lung disease, including Postural drainage Suctioning Breathing exercises The choice of therapy is based on the underlying… read more . People with pneumonia who are short of breath or have low levels of oxygen in their blood are given oxygen, usually by a small plastic tube in the nostrils . Although rest is an important part of treatment, complete bed rest can be harmful, and people are encouraged to move often and get out of bed and into a chair.
Usually antibiotics are started whenever bacterial pneumonia is suspected, even before the organism is identified. The prompt use of antibiotics reduces the severity of pneumonia and the chance of developing complications, some of which can lead to death.
When To Call The Doctor
You should call your childs doctor if your child:
- Has trouble breathing or is breathing much faster than usual
- Has a bluish or gray color to the fingernails or lips
- Is older than 6 months and has a fever over 102°F
- Is younger than 6 months and has a temperature over 100.4°F.
- Has a fever for more than a few days after taking antibiotics
When your child should stay home and return to school or childcare
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Respiratory And Circulatory Failure
Pneumonia can cause respiratory failure by triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome , which results from a combination of infection and inflammatory response. The lungs quickly fill with fluid and become stiff. This stiffness, combined with severe difficulties extracting oxygen due to the alveolar fluid, may require long periods of mechanical ventilation for survival. Other causes of circulatory failure are hypoxemia, inflammation, and increased coagulability.
is a potential complication of pneumonia but usually occurs in people with poor immunity or hyposplenism. The organisms most commonly involved are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Other causes of the symptoms should be considered such as a myocardial infarction or a pulmonary embolism.
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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Favorite Orgs That Can Help Fight Pneumonia
Those over age 65 have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger adults. They may be especially susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia, spread among large populations of elderly people in settings such as assisted living facilities. This organization, devoted to finding the best products and services for seniors, publishes advice on how older adults should handle prevention and care.
Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia. Several national healthcare organizations and the CDC are collaborating in an effort called United Against the Flu to stress the importance of getting immunized. The groups website supplies resources and details on the vaccination.
How Serious Is It If I Get A Chest Infection
If you were previously healthy, you are very likely to recover fully from a post-operative chest infection. But rarely, people who were well before their surgery die from pneumonia afterwards. If you were not previously healthy and had long-standing lung disease or another long standing illness, then you are more likely to have a serious life-threatening post-operative chest infection. However, many people with previous lung disease recover after a post-operative chest infection. Your anaesthetist will be able to talk to you about the risks which apply to you.
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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.
How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
What About Hospital Treatment
Hospital admission may be advised if you have severe pneumonia, or if symptoms do not quickly improve after you have started antibiotic treatment. Also, you are more likely to be treated in hospital if you are already in poor health, or if an infection with a more serious infecting germ is suspected. For example, if infection with Legionella pneumophila is suspected. Even if you are in hospital, you are likely to be offered antibiotics in capsule, tablet or liquid form unless you have difficulties taking them, in which case they may be given through a vein. Your antibiotic treatment will be stopped after five days, unless you are very unwell.
Sometimes oxygen and other supportive treatments are needed if you have severe pneumonia. Those who become severely unwell may need treatment in an intensive care unit.
When you return home, even though the infection is treated, you may feel tired and unwell for some time.
Signs Of Pneumonia In Children
Pneumonia typically spreads from person to person. Because children spend more time indoors in cooler or cold weather, they may be more exposed to the illness during fall, winter, and early spring. The clothes your child wears or the temperature outside do not stop them from getting pneumonia.
The symptoms of pneumonia can vary from child to child. Your childâs symptoms and their severity can depend on whether bacteria or a virus caused the illness. Children infected by bacteria typically present symptoms like:
- Lack of appetite
- Unusual tiredness
Itâs often hard to tell whether bacteria or a virus causes your childâs pneumonia. If the cause is a virus, then breathing problems may come on more slowly. Your child may start wheezing and develop a worsening cough. Symptoms that often show up with viral pneumonia include:
- Rapid or harsh breathing
- General fussiness
Some parents mistake the initial signs of pneumonia as a cold or other illness. If your childâs symptoms get worse, take them in for medical treatment.
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More Severe Cases May Also Cause:
- quick breathing
- rapid heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
Some people get a sharp pain in their chest when they breathe in and out. This may be because the thin lining between the lung and ribcage, called the pleura, is infected and inflamed. This inflammation, called pleurisy, stops your lungs moving smoothly as you breathe.
The symptoms of pneumonia are often very similar to those of other chest infections, such as bronchitis, COPD flare-ups or bronchiectasis flare-ups. To get a proper diagnosis youll need to visit your GP.
If you feel unwell with these symptoms, see your GP or call 111. If you have chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, quick breathing, shivers or confusion, get urgent advice from your GP or call 999. Take extra care if youre over 65.