Pneumonia Symptoms In Elders
Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs. There can be swelling or fluid in the air sacs. This can cause trouble with breathing as well as affect energy levels and overall health.
If your loved one is sick, the signs of pneumonia include:
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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.
Pneumonia: Is It Contagious Causes Symptoms And Transmission
Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health
Pneumonia is a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the lungs that can be contagious. If pneumonia is the result of a respiratory infection like the cold or flu virus, then pneumonia is infectious and can easily spread from person to person. Pneumonia can result in a mild to severe cough that may bring up phlegm. Droplets expelled from the mouth may contain contagious germs that can easily be passed on to other people.
Bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia are types of inflammatory lung infections that are contagious.
Although many types of pneumonia are spreadable, not all types of pneumonia are contagious. For example, noncontagious types of pneumonia include fungal pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia. Fungal pathogens can be breathed in from the environment and cause pneumonia but wont be transmissible between persons. Also, certain medical conditions can cause food, saliva, or foreign objects to get stuck in the lungs and cause inflammation with a chesty cough.
In this article, you will learn about contagious pneumonia and what can cause it. You will also find out what you can do to prevent catching pneumonia and when the lung infection is serious enough to see a doctor.
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It Might Feel Like A Cold
Walking pneumonia is how some people describe a mild case of pneumonia. Your doctor might call it âatypical pneumoniaâ because itâs not like more serious cases.
A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:
- Inhaled food
Walking pneumonia usually is due to bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
You probably wonât have to stay in bed or in the hospital. You might even feel good enough go to work and keep up your routine, just as you might with a cold.
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.
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Which Antibiotics Are Needed To Treat Nosocomial Pneumonia
Generally, patients are immediately given an antibiotic that is known to be effective against possible hospital germs. But these are not always effective against multi-resistant . In that case, reserve antibiotics are used. They are the only antibiotics that are still effective against those germs. Usually, combinations of different antibiotics are used.
Before starting treatment, blood samples or phlegm are sent to a laboratory. An antibiotic that is highly likely to be effective is then given immediately. At the same time, the tests in the laboratory find out exactly which germs are the cause. Once that is known, the antibiotic therapy is adjusted if necessary.
Is Bacterial Pneumonia Contagious
Whether or not bacterial pneumonia is contagious depends upon the type of bacteria causing the infection. In many cases, people contract pneumonia when bacteria they normally carry in the nose or throat are spread to the lungs. Most kinds of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious. However, pneumonia due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae and tuberculosis are exceptions. Both these types of bacterial pneumonia are highly contagious. These are spread among people by breathing in infected droplets that come from coughing or sneezing, similar to the spread of viral infections.
- By Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Womens 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.
Here are other important facts you should know about pneumonia:,
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When And How Is Pneumonia Contagious
A person can spread the germs that cause pneumonia when he or she coughs and expels the bacterial or viral infections that caused the disease. The droplets containing the virus or bacteria can land on a common surface, such as a table, telephone, or computer. You could also breathe in the droplets and bring them into your own breathing tract.
The time that a person may pass along pneumonia varies depending on the type and how he or she acquired it. Additionally, some types of pneumonia are much more contagious than others. Two examples of highly contagious strains of this illness are mycoplasma and mycobacterium.
Once a person who has pneumonia starts on antibiotics, he or she only remains contagious for the next 24 to 48 hours. This can be longer for certain types of organisms, including those that cause the disease tuberculosis. In that case, someone can remain contagious for up to two weeks after starting on antibiotics. When someone has viral pneumonia, the contagious period starts to subside when the symptoms do. This is particularly true of fever. Keep in mind that someone who had pneumonia may still cough occasionally for several weeks, even after he or she is no longer contagious.
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.
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When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia
You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:
- Shortness of breath or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Mucus, fever or cough
If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.
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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Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
- Breathing symptoms that get worse
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
- Fast or painful breathing
- Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
- Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
- Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement
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What Causes Chest Infections
A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or airways. The main types of chest infection are bronchitis and pneumonia.
Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, whereas most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria.
These infections are usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This launches tiny droplets of fluid containing the virus or bacteria into the air, where they can be breathed in by others.
The infections can also be spread to others if you cough or sneeze onto your hand, an object or a surface, and someone else shakes your hand or touches those surfaces before touching their mouth or nose.
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious chest infections, such as:
- babies and very young children
- children with developmental problems
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What Are The Treatments For Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, which germ is causing it, and how severe it is:
- Antibiotics treat bacterial pneumonia and some types of fungal pneumonia. They do not work for viral pneumonia.
- In some cases, your provider may prescribe antiviral medicines for viral pneumonia
- Antifungal medicines treat other types of fungal pneumonia
You may need to be treated in a hospital if your symptoms are severe or if you are at risk for complications. While there, you may get additional treatments. For example, if your blood oxygen level is low, you may receive oxygen therapy.
It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more.
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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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How Can I Prevent Catching Pneumonia
Because the answer to the question, can you catch pneumonia? is yes, you need to do what you can to prevent the infection from taking hold in your lungs.
There are vaccinesyou can get that will help reduce the risk of catching pneumonia.
- An annual flu shot can keep you from catching the flu. When you have the flu, your immune system will be weak and you will be at a greater risk of getting bacterial pneumonia.
- The PCV vaccination or pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can be given to kids under the age of 5 years to prevent childhood pneumonia.
- The PPSV vaccination is also referred to as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. It is given to adults who are older than 65 years of age or to people with chronic illnesses that puts them at risk for catching pneumonia. This vaccine lasts about 5 years before you need to be re-vaccinated.
Things that healthy people can do to stave off pneumonia include the following:
- Take vitamin C, which is protective against infections
- Eat a healthy diet
- Remain active so that your lungs will be healthy
- Get plenty of rest
- Stop smoking and do not use alcohol in excess
- Cover your mouth and nose whenever you have to cough or sneeze
- Practice frequent handwashing techniques and use alcohol-based hand wash
- Stay away from people who are sick with pneumonia, especially if you are at risk yourself
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Why Does Recovery Take So Long
Almost everyone who comes down with pneumonia will ask themselves or their healthcare provider at least once, Why does it take so long to recover from pneumonia? After all, you felt better within a few days of starting your antibiotic or, in some cases, steroid treatment. Like everything else in medicine, there are many reasons why it takes so long to recover.
When bacteria enters your body, your body goes into defense mode to remove it. Somewhere along the line, you start your antibiotics, and in a few days, you feel better. This improvement is because the bacteria has been dealt with. However, your body is now in cleanup mode, removing all the debrislike the mucus in your lungs.
Your body starts working overtime to clear out all the trash left behind. Your body is using multiple mechanisms to move the mucus out of your lungs. This movement is why you experience a productive cough.
How Do I Know If I Have Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms may present within 24 hours after infection or come on slowly. Common symptoms of pneumonia sometimes resemble cold- or flu-like symptoms including coughing, fever, and trouble breathing.
The cough itself may be wet or productive, meaning you cough up yellow, green, or even brown mucus from the lungs. Hemoptysis and coughing at night can also occur during a bout of pneumonia.
A high fever, upward of 105 degrees, can be a reaction to the body fighting an infection associated with pneumonia. If youre feverish, you may experience chills, sweating, and shaking.
Difficulty breathing may feel like shortness of breath, or feeling like you cant catch your breath. Chest pains, including sharp or stabbing feelings when coughing or trying to take a deep breath, are common once pneumonia develops. Furthermore, cyanosis may occur, causing your lips, fingertips, or skin to turn blue from a lack of oxygen.
Additional symptoms of pneumonia can include a loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
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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.