What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Fungal pneumonia is a noncontagious infection in your respiratory tract that is caused by breathing in spores. These spores infect the air sacs in the lungs and cause inflammation which results in symptoms of pneumonia.
According to Dr. Romeo A. Mandanas, a researcher at the Integris Cancer Institute of Oklahoma, fungal pneumonia is a less-common type of community-acquired pneumonia than the viral or bacterial varieties. Fungal pathogens can affect healthy individuals as well as people with compromised immune systems.12
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that valley fever is a type of fungal pneumonia common in the southern states in the U.S. This type of fungal pneumonia is caused by breathing in spores from the soil.13
Some of the symptoms of fungal pneumonia can include:14
- A dry cough that is difficult to get rid of
- Breathlessness, especially after physical exertion
- Chest discomfort
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.
Types Of Doctors Who Treat Pneumonia
In some cases, primary-care physicians, including pediatricians, internists, and family medicine specialists may treat pneumonia. In more severe cases, other types of specialists may be involved in caring for the patient with pneumonia. These include infectious-disease specialists, pulmonologists, critical-care specialists, and hospitalists.
You May Like: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Pneumonia Vaccine
Can Pneumonia Go Away On Its Own
Mild forms of walking pneumonia may go away on their own without the use of medication. According to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, some mild respiratory bacterial infections often clear up by themselves after a few weeks. However, you need to see a doctor if your symptoms of pneumonia become severe.16
Usually, the symptoms of viral pneumonia are less severe and should clear up on their own. Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that no medication is usually prescribed to treat the symptoms of viral pneumonia and the infection has to run its course. With viral pneumonia, a person should stay at home for at least a few days to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids.17
Incubation Period And Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The incubation period is the time from when you pick up the pneumonia virus to when you actively display symptoms. Many variables affect this, including the type of pneumonia, your general health, and your age. You may assume that you have a cold or the flu when symptoms begin because they are quite similar. However, they last longer and become more severe with time instead of less.
Recommended Reading: What Happens When A Cancer Patient Gets Pneumonia
How Can Walking Pneumonia Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no vaccines are available to prevent walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Even if you have recovered from walking pneumonia, you will not become immune, so it is possible to become infected again in the future.
Tips for preventing walking pneumonia include:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If a tissue isnt available, sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow or sleeve. Never sneeze or cough into your hands. Place used tissues into a waste basket.
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Wear a mask around sick people if you have respiratory conditions or other chronic health conditions that would make getting pneumonia even riskier for you.
- Get your annual Influenza shot. Bacterial pneumonia can develop after a case of the flu.
- Ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine. Two types of vaccines are available, Prevnar 13® and Pneumovax 23®. Each vaccine is recommended for people at different age points or who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia.
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.
Read Also: Is Constant Coughing A Sign Of Pneumonia
What Is Fungal Pneumonia Is Fungal Pneumonia Contagious
- Rarely contagious in nature, fungal pneumonia affect people with weakened immunity. Pneumocystis jiroveciiis a common fungal pathogen which leads to other serious opportunistic infections.
These cases qualify for the third category of pneumonia which is rarely contagious. It is an infectious process in the lungs which is caused by one or more opportunistic or endemic fungi. Often inhalation fungal spores or reactivation of a latent infection in an immunosuppressant individual leads to fungal pneumonia.
These pneumonia cases are commonly seen in people with weakened immunity, amongst them the HIV positive people are commonly infected by fungal pneumonia.
Opportunistic fungal pathogens are likely to affect people who have congenital or acquired defects in their immune system. These include Aspergillus species, Candida species and Mucor species.
Pneumocystis pneumonia is caused by fungus Pneumocystisjirovecii which causes serious opportunistic infections. Those have vulnerable immunity, due to conditions like HIV/AIDS are at a risk of this infection.
The endemic fungal pathogens which include Histoplasma capsulatum, Sporothrix schenckii, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Coccidioides immitis, Cryptococcus neoformans and Blastomyces dermatitidis, cause pneumonia in healthy people and in those with weakened immunity as well. The prevalence in the geographical regions of American continents is higher however it is present across the globe.
Is Atypical Pneumonia Contagious ?
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Its important to recognize the symptoms and signs of pneumonia to make sure that the lung disease doesnt progress and cause further complications. Pneumonia can cause symptoms similar to bronchitis, but is usually more severe and leaves a person feeling fatigued.
According to doctors from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the signs and symptoms of pneumonia can include the following:5
- Coughing or breathing deeply causes chest pains
If any of your symptoms dont improve with treatment or suddenly get worse, you should see your doctor for a checkup.
If left untreated, pneumonia can cause complications that can even be life-threatening. Some serious pneumonia complications can include:5
- Bacteria from a bacterial lung infection enters the bloodstream and causes
- Pleurisy along with sharp chest pains when breathing deeply
- Kidney problems and serious respiratory problems
Also Check: What Are The Common Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Other Organisms To Consider
Apart from S pneumoniae and mycoplasma, other organisms that need to be considered include Chlamydia trachomatis, Bordetella pertussis, Staphylococcal aureus, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis . Table 2 highlights some of the important features of these organisms.
âFeatures of other causal organisms of CAP
How Long Does It Take For Pneumonia To Go Away
The length of time that it takes for the symptoms of pneumonia to disappear depends on the type of lung infection you have and its severity.
Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that you may not start feeling better for up to 3 weeks while recovering from pneumonia. However, some factors can also mean that it takes longer than usual to completely recover from pneumonia. Some of these factors can include:18
- Age and strength of immune system. If you are already ill or are a senior person, your symptoms of pneumonia can be more severe and take longer to go away. If you are elderly, you should see a doctor as soon as possible when you develop the first signs of pneumonia.
- Type of infectious pneumonia. Usually, bacterial pneumonia causes more severe symptoms and complications and takes longer to treat.
- Home care for pneumonia. Its important to get plenty of rest to allow your body to recover quicker from a lung infection. Making sure you avoid irritating your lungs and drinking plenty of fluids are good ways to make pneumonia go away quicker.
Also Check: Can You Drink Alcohol After Pneumonia Shot
Urgent Advice: Get Urgent Medical Attention If:
- you have severe symptoms such as rapid breathing, chest pain or confusion
Pneumonia affects around 8 in 1,000 adults each year. It’s more widespread in autumn and winter.
Pneumonia can affect people of any age. It’s more common and can be more serious in certain groups of people, such as the very young or the elderly. People in these groups may need hospital treatment if they develop pneumonia.
Why Getting Vaccinated Against Community
You have learned that pneumonia-causing bacteria are everywhere, and it is very difficult to avoid exposure. If you are a young and healthy adult, you dont need to worry about getting pneumonia because your immune system will fight it, and you most likely wont get sick.
The most common bacteria that causes community-acquired pneumonia in adults is called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or simply pneumococcus. There is a highly effective vaccine against pneumococcus. It will help your immune system get ready to fight this bacteria if it enters your body.
It is recommended that you get this vaccine if you are an adult in any of the following categories:
Read Also: Does Cold Air Make Pneumonia Worse
Types Of Pneumonia And Pathogens Involved
Pneumonia is caused by pathogens which include bacteria, viruses and fungi.
- Interestingly, most contagious pathogens cause milder cases of pneumonia, while weakly contagious pathogens lead to serious pneumonia cases.
Experts find that mycobacterium and mycoplasma organisms are highly contagious , but other types, including pneumococcal pneumonia, require optimal conditions to spread to another person and are weakly contagious.
To understand the disease pathology better, given below are the pneumonia causing pathogen details
Immunology And Risk Factors
Microbial exposure to the lung is constant, but the normal lung has effective immune mechanisms that usually prevent pneumonia. A comprehensive integrated understanding of the normal mechanisms of lung immunity is lacking, but many of the individual components are well known. Initial immune defence depends on effective mucociliary clearance and an intact epithelial barrier, supported by antimicrobial proteins or peptides, such as lactoferrin, lysozyme and defensins. In addition, the airways and alveoli contain alveolar macrophages that recognise and phagocytose invading microorganisms via a range of surface proteins, including scavenger receptors, macrophage receptor with collagenous structure , dectin, complement and mannose receptors assisted by opsonins in the airway-lining fluid. Failure to control invading microorganisms by these initial immune mechanisms triggers an inflammatory response, causing an influx of exudate and white cells into the alveoli and resulting in consolidation, the hallmark of pneumonia. Subsequently, bacteria can potentially invade the blood, where they can be controlled by complement and antibody in combination with phagocytosis by macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system and circulating neutrophils. Additional research is required to identify the relative importance of each of these components for preventing CAP and the potential roles of T cell and other lymphocyte subsets which experimental data suggest are important.
You May Like: How To Help With Pneumonia Cough
When To See A Doctor
Pneumonia can develop into a serious respiratory infection that causes unpleasant complications. Usually, using home remedies to treat chest infections at the first signs of a viral or bacterial chest infection help to prevent pneumonia becoming worse.
In some cases, you may need to visit your doctor to get your lung infection symptoms checked out. Dr. Laurence Knott on Patient.info recommends seeing a doctor for pneumonia in the following circumstances:19
- The symptoms of pneumonia get worse despite using home remedies.
- You start to cough up thick phlegm or mucus that is yellow, green, brown, or has streaks of blood.
- You get no relief from a chesty cough after 4 weeks.
- You frequently have bouts of bronchitis or other chest infections.
- You have shortness of breath, dizziness, fast breathing, or chest pains.
Read my other related articles:
How Can You Catch Pneumoniaand Who’s Most At Risk
When pneumonia is caused by either bacteria or viruses, it can spread between people in a variety of ways: being exposed to viral particles through uncovered coughs or sneezes, sharing drinks or utensils with an infected person, or even touching a tissue from or taking care of a person with pneumonia. It’s important to note that these are mainly examples of community-acquired pneumonia, which occurs when someone develops pneumonia in the general community, per the CDC.
Anyone can get pneumonia, according to the ALA, but some people are at a greater risk for having severe pneumonia than others. Those include:
- People age 65 and over.
- Children under two years old.
- People with chronic lung diseases like COPD or cystic fibrosis.
- People with serious chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, and sickle cell disease.
- People with a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDs, an organ transplant, chemotherapy, or long-term steroid use.
- People with difficulty swallowing.
- Those who had a recent respiratory infection, like a cold, laryngitis, or the flu.
- People who have been recently hospitalized.
- People who abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Exposure to certain chemicals, pollutants, or toxic fumes, including secondhand smoke.
You May Like: Do I Need A Pneumonia Vaccine Booster
Symptoms And Causes Of Walking Pneumonia
Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that a bacterial infection of the Mycoplasma pneumonia strain of bacteria is usually the cause of walking pneumonia. Usually, the incubation period of walking pneumonia is between 2 and 4 weeks before you start to show symptoms.9
Signs that you have walking pneumonia can be any of the following:
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, sore throat, and headaches
- Fatigue that lasts after your respiratory infection symptoms have gone
What Is Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacterial pneumonia is a communicable respiratory infection that can produce mucus in the lungs. Dr. George Schiffman on eMedicineHealth says that lung infections cause inflammation in the respiratory tract that can affect the amount of oxygen the body gets. This can result in an infectious type of pneumonia, especially if it is caused by tuberculosis or Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria.10
Other symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can include:
- Chest pains when sneezing or breathing deeply
- Feeling short of breath
- Pleurisy and accompanying symptoms
You May Like: I Got A Pneumonia Shot And My Arm Is Swollen
Limit Contact With Others
One of the best things you can do when recovering from pneumonia is to limit your contact with others. As weve learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemicwhich can cause viral pneumoniastaying at least six feet away from others reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to as you breathe or talk.
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Patients with community pneumonia may present to the primary care provider or the emergency department. Hence these professionals should be aware of the signs and symptoms. The health care team can improve outcomes. The team can include primary care, emergency department personnel, specialists, nurses, and pharmacists. If the diagnosis is not clear cut, then an infectious disease or pulmonology consult is recommended. Most patients do respond to outpatient antibiotic therapy for 5-7 days. Patients who are short of breath, febrile, and in respiratory distress need to be admitted. Some patients may present with a parapneumonic effusion, which may require drainage. Nurses monitor the patients and report current status and updates to the rest of the team. Pharmacists evaluate medication choice, check for allergies and interactions, and educate patients about side effects and the importance of compliance. The providers should encourage all patients to get the annual influenza vaccine. In addition, all adults 65 years and older and those considered at risk for pneumonia must receive the pneumococcal vaccination. The outcomes in most patients with community-acquired pneumonia are excellent.
Read Also: Can Pneumonia Hide Lung Cancer
When To Seek Medical Care For Your Pneumonia
At UPMC Western Maryland, we recommend that any person who has had a cough and a fever after experiencing flu-like symptoms schedule an appointment with their primary care provider as soon as possible or visit a UPMC Western Maryland urgent care center. This is especially important if the cough produces sputum that appears brown, green, or yellow in color. Anyone who experiences shortness of breath, high fever, confusion, or pain after a diagnosis of pneumonia should go to the UPMC Western Maryland Emergency Department immediately for treatment. Those with a depressed immune system or chronic conditions like HIV or diabetes should also seek immediate care.
UPMC Western Maryland wishes you a safe and healthy winter of 2019. If youre concerned about the possibility of pneumonia, we encourage you to speak to your primary care provider about a vaccine to prevent some of its types. Its also important to maintain good personal hygiene standards, avoid people who are already sick with pneumonia, and stay home when you have the disease yourself.
Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing relating symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.