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 Is The Treatment For Pneumonia
Mild cases of pneumonia can be treated at home with rest, antibiotics and drinking plenty of fluids. However, pneumonia can be severe and require hospital admission or intensive care unit admission. It can lead to death particularly in those who are older or with other health problems. Hospital admission is often recommended for babies, young children and older adults and for those with severe disease. It is important to take your treatment and see a doctor if you or child is not improving or you or your child develop severe symptoms.
Antibiotics can be used to treat pneumonia caused by bacteria but are not effective if it is caused by a virus. However, it is difficult to tell if pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus, so antibiotics are usually prescribed if pneumonia is diagnosed.
Signs Of Pneumonia In Small Children And Older Adults
If you see signs and symptoms of pneumonia in your small child, it is important to see your doctor right away. Pneumonia is the number one most common reason for children in the United States to be hospitalized, and is the worlds leading cause of death for children under 5 years old. If you have any doubts about whether your young child may have pneumonia, seek medical attention just in case.
Older people are at a higher risk of developing and dying from pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia in older adults may be different than those in their younger counterparts. They may be fewer or less severe,may not include a fever and a cough may not produce mucus. One of the primary symptoms of pneumonia in older folks is confusion or delirium. You may also see a bluish tinge to the lips and fingertips. Those with pre-existing lung conditions may become sicker faster than those with healthier lungs.
If you recognize any of the pneumonia warning signs mentioned above, contact your doctor as soon as possible for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic testing.
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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
How To Determine If You Have Pneumonia
This article was medically reviewed by Victor Catania, MD. Dr. Catania is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his MD from the Medical University of the Americas in 2012 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Robert Packer Hospital. He is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 75,807 times.
Research shows that pneumonia is an infection of the air sacs in your lungs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source This infection is most dangerous for children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, and it can become life-threatening. Experts note that if you recognize the symptoms and seek medical help right away, pneumonia can be treated effectively.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
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Bacterial Vs Viral Pneumonia Symptoms
Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. Fungi and parasites can sometimes cause it.
When the cause is bacteria, the illness can come on either slowly or quickly. It tends to be more serious than other types.
When a virus causes your pneumonia, youâre more likely to notice symptoms over several days. Early signs will look like the flu — such as fever, dry cough, headache, and weakness — but get worse in a day or two.
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.
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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.
Get Help Straight Away If:
- your child develops a chest infection after a cold or the flu children can become very sick very quickly if they develop pneumonia
- you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, chest pain or confusion, persistent fever or if a bluish tinge develops in your skin, lips and nail beds.
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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.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and when they began. They will also ask whether you have any risk factors for pneumonia. You may also be asked about:
- 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 Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough. You will likely cough up mucus from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
- Fever, chills, and sweating.
- Feeling very tired or very weak.
When you have less severe symptoms, your doctor may call this “walking pneumonia.”
Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delirium is common. Or, if they already have a lung disease, that disease may get worse.
Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Pneumonia
The time that it takes to recover from pneumonia can vary by individual. Some may find that they can go back to their normal routine in about a week. Others may need some additional time to recover. Sometimes tiredness and fatigue can linger for several weeks.
Illness may also be more severe in at-risk groups like young children, older adults, and people with underlying conditions. These groups often require hospitalization and close monitoring through their treatment and recovery.
What about the different causes of pneumonia? The time until symptoms improve can also depend on whats causing your infection.
In bacterial pneumonia, you may begin to feel better after several days of antibiotic treatment. Viral pneumonia typically improves in while fungal pneumonia may require taking antifungal medications for weeks or even months.
what to do while recovering
Remember, the germs that cause pneumonia can be contagious. While youre recovering, be sure to do the following:
- limit contact with others
- cover your nose and mouth when you cough
- wash your hands frequently
- throw away any used tissues promptly in a covered container
Be sure to speak to your doctor about when you can go back to your normal activities. Your doctor may also want to schedule a follow-up chest X-ray to make sure that your infection has completely cleared.
Symptoms That Differentiate Pneumonia From The Common Cold2
When you are looking at the signs and symptoms of pneumonia versus a cold, it is helpful to look at duration, severity and types of symptoms. Unlike pneumonia, cold symptoms often do not require that you stay home sick, and generally, the symptoms of a cold are not severe enough to warrant a call to your doctor. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days, come on suddenly and/or grow increasingly severe, you should contact your physician as soon as possible as you may have pneumonia. After reviewing the following 12 signs and symptoms of pneumonia, it should be easier for you to differentiate it from the symptoms of a common cold.So what does pneumonia feel like?
- Fever, often high
- Shivering that may be accompanied by teeth-chattering chills
- Cough that is likely to be worse than the mild cough you may experience with a cold
- Mucus that may be rusty, green or blood-tinged
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, particularly in older people
- Sharp pain in the chest that worsens when you take a deep breath or cough
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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.
Apply A Lukewarm Compress Or Take A Lukewarm Bath
Submerging your body in a lukewarm bath might help you bring down your body temperature.
You can also use a lukewarm compress to help cool your body from the outside inward if a bath is not convenient. Although it may be tempting to use a cold compress, the sudden temperature shift can cause chills. A lukewarm compress provides a more gradual, comfortable temperature change.
Chills may come on before or during a fever. They typically subside after your fever breaks. This may last up to a week, depending on when you begin treatment for pneumonia.
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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.
Pneumonia Vs Cold And Flu Symptoms
Itâs tricky, because pneumonia can be a complication of colds and flu. This happens when the germs that cause those common illnesses get into your lungs. You might be feeling better, but then you start getting symptoms again — and this time, they can be a lot worse.
Cold symptoms tend to start slowly. Youâre more likely to sneeze and have a runny nose and sore throat than with either the flu or pneumonia. Colds donât usually cause a fever in adults.
The top clue that you have the flu is that the symptoms come on strong, seemingly out of nowhere. You may have:
- Fever above 100.4 F
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How Can I Avoid Getting Pneumonia
To help prevent pneumonia, do the following:
- Get the flu vaccination every year it can help prevent pneumonia caused by the flu virus. Read more about the flu vaccine.
- Get a pneumococcal vaccination this vaccine is especially recommended for anyone at high risk of pneumococcal pneumonia. Read more about pneumococcal vaccine.
- Stop smoking smoking damages your lung’s ability to fight infection. Read more about tips to quit smoking.
- Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Stay rested and fit.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- Avoid people who have a cold or the flu.
How Do You Treat Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the cause. If pneumonia is caused bya bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed to kill the harmfulbacteria. If pneumonia is caused by a viral infection, time and restare best for recovery. Fever reducing medications and cough medicationscan help relieve symptoms and aid sleep.
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Drink A Cup Of Ginger Tea
Ginger has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in recent research . As with turmeric, current research on ginger hasnt looked at whether it helps specifically with chest pain, but its a harmless, hydrating way to try and soothe the uncomfortable effects of pneumonia.
You can find loose or bagged ginger teas at your local grocery or online. Or, you can use raw ginger to make your own ginger tea.
Your fever may develop suddenly or over the course of a few days. With treatment, it should subside within the week.