Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
Vaccinations can help prevent some types of pneumonia. Its a good idea to speak to your doctor about whether vaccination is recommended for you or for your children.
One vaccination that reduces the risk of pneumonia is the pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumococcal vaccines are free in Australia under the National Immunisation Program for some people .
How Can You Care For Yourself At Home
To help with swallowing
- You may need to do exercises to train your muscles to work together to help you swallow. You may also need to learn how to position your body or how to put food in your mouth to be able to swallow better.
- You may need to change the foods you eat. Your doctor may tell you to eat certain foods and liquids to make swallowing easier.
- You may need to change how you prepare foods. For example, you may need to add thickeners to some liquids, or puree certain foods in a blender.
To help with pneumonia
How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
Do I have a cold or could it be the flu or even pneumonia? Its tough to tell the difference but critical to know when to seek medical care
Watch for these ongoing symptoms that occur in pneumonia:
- Serious congestion or chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A fever of 102 or higher.
- Coughing that produces pus.
Pneumonia symptoms last longer than cold and flu. If your symptoms arent severe, its okay to try such home remedies as getting more rest, drinking more fluids and taking some over-the-counter medicines and see what happens. But if you dont see improvement in your symptoms after three to five days, or if you are experiencing more serious symptoms such as dizziness or severe difficulty breathing, see your healthcare provider. Dont let it go. Pneumonia-like symptoms in very young children or in adults older than 65 are a cause for concern. Also, pneumonia can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated for too long. And always seek immediate care if you experience chest pain or have breathing difficulties.
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No Energy And Fatigue
One of the most worrisome pneumonia symptoms is lack of energy and fatigue. It stands to reason that with the muscles sore from coughing and nose-blowing, the struggle to breathe, and loss of appetite, the body will be worn out. Fatigue is also a side effect of some pneumonia medications.
Fatigue and lack of energy dont endanger the pneumonia patient like anxiety would. However, if the body is too tired to cough up the mucus or fight off a fever, then the pneumonia symptoms will worsen. It will take longer for the body to fight off the illness.
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.
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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
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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Viral Vs Bacterial Pneumonia Symptoms
Although viral and bacterial pneumonia symptoms can be very similar, there are some key differences between the two. The section below outlines some examples.
- Lungs affected: Bacterial pneumonia tends to affect one particular part, or lobe, of a lung, whereas viral pneumonia typically affects both lungs.
- Symptom onset: The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop either suddenly or gradually, whereas symptoms of viral pneumonia typically develop over several days.
- Symptoms: People with bacterial pneumonia usually experience a higher temperature and a wet cough, whereas people with viral pneumonia
Are There Treatments For Covid
Pneumonia may need treatment in a hospital with oxygen, a ventilator to help you breathe, and intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.
Clinical trials are looking into whether some drugs and treatments used for other conditions might treat severe COVID-19 or related pneumonia, including dexamethasone, a corticosteroid.
The FDA has approved the antiviral remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID. The drug was origininally developed to treat the Ebola virus.
The agency rescinded an emergency use authorization for the anti-malarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid serious concerns about their safety and how well they worked against the virus.
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Spreading Pneumonia To Others
If your pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria, you may spread the infection to other people while you are contagious. How long you are contagious depends on what is causing the pneumonia and whether you get treatment. You may be contagious for several days to a week.
If you get antibiotics, you usually cannot spread the infection to others after a day of treatment.
When Should You Call For Help
anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You have severe trouble breathing.
or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have a new or higher fever.
- You have new or worse trouble breathing.
- You cough up blood.
- You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You do not get better as expected.
- You are coughing more deeply or more often.
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Treatment For Sinusitis And Bronchitis
You can treat a sinus infection at home with a combination of medications such as antihistamines, nasal decongestant sprays, topical nasal corticosteroid sprays, and nasal saline washes. All of these methods can help address the inflammation and swelling that occur in the nasal passages and sinus openings due to a sinus infection.
However, topical nasal decongestants should only be used for three or four days, as overuse can result in dependency. Likewise, over-the-counter nasal decongestants and antihistamines may contain drying agents that can thicken mucus and should be used sparingly and with caution so as to not cause additional congestion.
Home remedies for bronchitis include increasing the amount of fluid you consume and using a cool-mist humidifier. Drinking more fluids can help to thin the mucus in the lungs. Using a humidifier can soothe irritated airways.
The most common medications that can assist with bronchitis are bronchodilators and decongestants.
Bronchodilators can provide relief by opening tight air passages in the lungs. If you experience any wheezing, a doctor may prescribe one for you. Decongestants may relieve some of the symptoms associated with bronchitis. Because bronchitis is generally caused by a virus, antibiotics are not helpful in its treatment.
Can I Prevent Pneumonia
The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.
People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.
Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.
Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.
You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age and your overall health.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, especially in older people
How To Know If Its Pneumonia
Symptoms of pneumonia can be the same as for colds and flu, which is why you really need a doctors diagnosis to know for sure. A doctor may also be able to identify which type of pneumonia you have and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Symptoms common to pneumonia, colds and flu include:
Additional signs of pneumonia may include:
- A respiratory illness that lingers
- Cough with mucus and/or blood
- Shortness of breath or fast, shallow breathing
- Bluish tint to lips and/or fingertips
- High fever, sweating, shaking chills
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you inhale deeply or cough
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in young children
- Confusion, especially in older adults
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
Pneumonia Can Be Serious But Not Always
A case of pneumonia doesnt necessarily require a hospital stay: If you are diagnosed with pneumonia but your symptoms arent severe, your doctor may direct you to manage it at home.
COVID-19 aside, bacterial pneumonia can be more serious than viral pneumonia unless you have a case of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae, often referred to as walking pneumonia, the non-medical term for atypical pneumonia. Although its often mild, atypical pneumonia can still make you feel pretty bad and can also be spread to others.
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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.
Symptoms During The Gray Hepatization Phase
This is the more severe phase of lobar pneumonia, and while you may not notice as much coughing or sputum production, shortness of breath is common. Your alveoli are surrounded by swelling and fibrous strands that keep them from moving gases like oxygen in and out of your bloodstream.
You might have symptoms of hypoxia as your gas exchange is impaired. This is a life threatening emergency. Call emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience:
- a blueish tinge to your lips or nail beds
- severe shortness of breath
- a rapid heartbeat
- shallow breathing
In this stage, supplemental oxygen or even mechanical ventilation may be required to prevent additional complications from hypoxia.
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Symptoms During The Red Hepatization Phase
As you move into more advanced stages of pneumonia, you may be increasingly weak or tired as your body tries to fight the infection. You may start to see sputum production or coughing decrease as swelling in the alveoli increases. When this happens, you may become short of breath or have difficulty breathing.
Severe Or Complicated Pneumonia
As you move into the red or gray hepatization phases of pneumonia, you may need to be treated with intravenous antibiotics or fluids. You may also require supplemental oxygen.
Medications used in more severe cases of pneumonia requiring inpatient care usually include formulas that combine more than one type of antibiotic, such as:
Viral pneumonia caused by influenza may also require the use of oseltamivir, an antiviral medication, which is predominantly used to shorten the course of viral pneumonia.
In severe cases, you may also need direct drainage of fluids from your lungs with a chest tube.
A chest tube could be used if a person develops a parapneumonic effusion, which is not in the lungs but around the lungs in the thoracic cavity, which is also known as the pleural space.
You will be observed closely for any complications if you have other health conditions like:
- kidney disease
- other lung conditions
People with other conditions are more likely to have pneumonia that progresses to or multi-organ failure and even death.
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Pneumonia And Long Covid
In a Q& A about lingering COVID-19 symptoms, the Cleveland Clinic notes that it is seemingly random who experiences long-lasting symptoms and who doesn’t. So, its not quite clear whether having pneumonia in the past is connected with having long COVID.
As a way to find answers, in 2021, the National Institutes of Health launched an ongoing study into the underlying biological causes of prolonged symptoms and what makes some people more likely to get long COVID.
You Should Call Your Doctor If You Have These Symptoms
It may be hard to tell if you have pneumonia just from how you feel, but there are things to look out for.
According to Ward, symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Cough, which can include mucus or phlegm
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain, especially when breathing or coughing
To monitor your symptoms, I recommend keeping a working thermometer and a blood oxygen reader, called a pulse oximeter, at home, she says.
If you have any of the following symptoms, Ward recommends seeking medical attention:
- A fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even after taking fever-lowering medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Blood oxygen level lower than 95%
- Coughing up blood or sputum that contains blood
She adds that people whose immune systems are compromised should contact their doctor, if they think they are having pneumonia symptoms.
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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.