How Are Pneumonia And Bronchitis Treated
If their disease is detected early enough, most people with pneumonia or bronchitis can be treated at home. Early treatment is essential in order to prevent life-threatening complications. These serious cases generally require hospitalization.
In young and healthy patients, early antibiotic treatment can cure bacterial pneumonia and can improve recovery from other organisms but there is no effective treatment for viral pneumonia. Which drugs are used will depend on the type of organism causing the infection and your doctors judgment.
Supportive treatment includes: proper diet, oxygen when needed, medication for chest pain and therapy to relieve cough.
A vigorous young person may recovery completely within one week. Older patients take longer to recover. Someone recovering from mycoplasma pneumonia may be weak for an extended period of time.
The most effective way to treat bronchitis is to get lots of rest, stay indoors if the weather is cold and windy and drink lots of fluid to help liquefy mucus. Mucus should be coughed up so avoid using cough suppressants.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend an expectorant medication to help loosen mucus, or bronchodilators to open air passages. Older people, who generally have lower resistance to bacterial infection, may need to take antibiotics.
Why Do Some People Have Pneumonia Without A Fever And Others Have One With A Fever
A fever is a type of immune reaction. It is one of the ways your body tries to fend off an invasion by disease-causing germs. Pneumonia is a type of infection where the invading germs settle down in your lungs. To have a fever with pneumonia, the following sequence of events must happen inside your body.
Any defect in the steps can result in pneumonia without a fever.
There are certain viruses that dont produce fever-causing chemicals. There was a research article published in the Cambridge University Press where they identified such viruses. . Some people have defects in the immune system that causes it fail to recognize the specific triggers. Some people have defects in producing the signal-magnifying chemicals, and are unable to tell the brain to reset the thermostat to start a fever.
Pneumonia Vs Cold: Us Prevalence And Economic Impact
Just because pneumonia has a small impact on health doesnt mean it has no impact. In fact, out of all deaths in children under five years old, 15 percent can be attributed to pneumonia. That figure added up to 922,000 for 2015. Worldwide, that means its still the largest cause of death for children within that age range.
The reason so many children are still dying due to pneumonia is because less than one third actually get the antibiotics needed to fight the symptoms. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia make up the bulk of these deaths, with children being infected through airborne virus particles. However, pneumonia can also be spread through the blood, which becomes a problem during birth in these aforementioned regions.
The common cold is a more prevalent problem, despite its light physical impact. Its estimated that there are about 62 million Americans infected each year, accounting for about one billion colds. Breaking that number down further, thats over five million colds every month. Though the physical damage is low, the economic impact is not.
Think about this. During any given year, 40 percent of the time lost from work is due to a cold. For school, 30 percent of total time lost is due to cold symptoms. That measures to be over 20 million lost days of school and over 40 million lost work days. Figures like these cant be ignored.
You May Like: How Long Does It Take To Get Over Pneumonia
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can Pneumonia Make You Tired
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.
Pneumonia Kills More Children Than Any Other Infectious Disease
Many people associate pneumonia with the elderly, but it is actually the biggest infectious killer of children worldwide. It claims the lives of over 800,000 children under five every year, including over 153,000 newborns, who are particularly vulnerable to infection. That means a child dies from pneumonia every 39 seconds and almost all of these deaths are preventable.
A child dies from pneumonia every 39 seconds. Almost all of these deaths are preventable
What causes pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection of the lungs. It doesnt have one single cause it can develop from either bacteria, viruses or fungi in the air. When a child is infected, his lungs are filled with fluid and it becomes difficult to breathe. Children whose immune systems are immature or weakened such as by undernourishment, or diseases like HIV are more vulnerable to pneumonia.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia?
As pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, the most common symptoms are coughing, trouble breathing and fever. Children with pneumonia usually experience fast breathing, or their lower chest may draw in or retract when they inhale .
Is pneumonia contagious?
Pneumonia is contagious and can be spread through airborne particles . It can also be spread through other fluids, like blood during childbirth, or from contaminated surfaces.
How is pneumonia diagnosed in children?
What is the treatment for pneumonia?
Can pneumonia be prevented?
Is there a pneumonia vaccine?
Read Also: Two Types Of Pneumonia Shots
How To Tell If You Have Walking Pneumonia
February 5, 2019 By Caitlin Hartwyk
Were all familiar with the sense of dread that comes when you realize youre getting a case of the winter sniffles often cold or flu. Although, its thought that over two million Americans actually deal with walking pneumonia each year, and many may not even realize it.
What is Walking Pneumonia?
If youve never heard of walking pneumonia, youre not alone. The disease goes unheard of for many, despite affecting 2 million people in the United States every year.
Walking, or atypical, pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a different bacteria than the regular disease. The CDC states it, might have slightly different symptoms, appear different on a chest X-ray, or respond to different antibiotics than the typical bacteria that cause pneumonia.
For example, antibiotics are required and routinely prescribed to treat pneumonia. But, the M. pneumoniae bacteria is resistant to the same medicine. Beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin cannot be used to treat M. pneumoniae. This is part of the growing, worrying trend of AMR, or antimicrobial resistance.
Even when it comes to atypical pneumonia, there are several different types. Atypical pneumonia could come in the form of Mycoplasma pneumonia, Legionnaires disease, Chlamydophila pneumonia and psittacosis. Mycoplasma pneumonia is by far the most common variety of walking pneumonia.
How Do I Know if I Have Walking Pneumonia?
Who is Most Often Affected by Atypical Pneumonia?
When To See A Doctor
If you feel like you have either bronchitis or pneumonia, its always a good idea to check in with your doctor. If the underlying cause is bacterial, you should start feeling much better within a day or two of starting antibiotics.
Otherwise, call your doctor if your cough or wheezing doesnt improve after two weeks.
You should also seek immediate medical care if you notice:
- blood in your phlegm
Recommended Reading: Do You Have To Get A Pneumonia Shot Every Year
Also Check: What Do Doctors Prescribe For Pneumonia
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
What Does Pneumonia Feel Like
Not everyone feels the same when they have pneumonia, but there arecore signs you can look out for, such as feeling like you’re out of breath,generally feeling tired or sleepy and sharp, stabbing chest pain. Note, however,that “walking pneumonia” might not have obvious symptoms or justsymptoms of a common cold.
Don’t Miss: Can Pneumonia Cause Hip Pain
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.
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
Don’t Miss: How Much Is A Pneumonia Shot
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.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Definition Of Pneumonia
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
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
You May Like: Viral Pneumonia Signs And Symptoms
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.