Pneumonia Warning Signs And Symptoms
Pneumonia can affect just about anyone, from infants and children to adults and the elderly. The pulmonary condition causes inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs.Infection from viruses and bacteria, certain drugs, and chemicals that irritate the lungs are all potential causes. Depending on the cause, pneumonia can be treated effectively, though quick treatment has the best results.Anyone experiencing multiple symptoms of pneumonia should seek medical advice. Due to the similarity of symptoms, it can be difficult to differentiate between pneumonia and COVID-19, so receiving a correct diagnosis is essential.
What’s The Link Between Covid
A quick refresher first: COVID-19 is a serious respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. It can lead to a range of intense symptoms, including a cough, fever, trouble breathing, and loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Pneumonia is an infection of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people, the CDC says.
Some patients with COVID-19 develop pneumoniain fact, the World Health Organization first called the virus -infected pneumonia , before shortening the name to COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was also first identified in Wuhan, China due to cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology,” or unknown cause, the WHO reported in January 2020.
It’s not uncommon to develop pneumonia as the result of any virus, Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells Health. In the case of COVID-19, the virus can damage your alveoli and cause fluid to build in your lungs as your body fights the infection, he explains. That can also lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome , which is a serious form of respiratory failure that makes the alveoli fill with fluid. “The immune system starts attacking the lung itself, which results in ARDS,” Dr. Casciari says.
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How Can I Help Myself Feel Better
If your doctor has prescribed medicine, follow the directions carefully.
You may feel better in a room with a humidifier, which increases the moisture in the air and soothes irritated lungs. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever. If you have a fever and feel uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring it down. But don’t take any medicine without checking first with your doctor a cough suppressant, for example, may not allow your lungs to clear themselves of mucus.
And finally, be sure to rest. This is a good time to sleep, watch TV, read, and lay low. If you treat your body right, it will repair itself and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
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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
How To Treat Pneumonia In Babies
It’s vital to have your little one checked out by your healthcare provider as soon as possible, as the different types of pneumonia may need different forms of treatment.
In most cases, treatment for pneumonia will take place in your home. However, some babies may need to be treated in the hospital.
Bacterial pneumonia need to be treated with antibiotics, while pneumonia caused by a virus will often clear up after a few days without any treatment .
Because it’s not always easy for your healthcare provider to tell what’s causing your baby’s pneumonia if there’s any doubt he may prescribe an antibiotic just to be on the safe side.
Always follow your provider’s instructions when giving your baby antibiotics or any other medicine, and make sure she takes the full course of antibiotics. Don’t stop early just because she seems better.
Avoid giving your baby a cough suppressant, such as medicines containing codeine or dextromethorphan, if she’s got pneumonia, as the coughing actually helps your baby expel any fluids caused by the infection.
Make sure your baby gets plenty of rest and stays hydrated. Keep a close eye on your little one’s condition and go back for another checkup if you notice any signs that the infection could be getting worse or spreading.
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When To Go To Urgent Care
If youre exhibiting one or more of the symptoms above, visit your primary care physician as soon as possible. As with most infections and medical conditions, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. Go to your local urgent care center immediately if you have symptoms of mild to moderate:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
Anyone with severe symptoms of pneumonia should go to their nearest emergency room for immediate treatment, particularly the following groups of people:
- Infants and small children
More Severe Cases May Also Cause:
- quick breathing
- rapid heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
Some people get a sharp pain in their chest when they breathe in and out. This may be because the thin lining between the lung and ribcage, called the pleura, is infected and inflamed. This inflammation, called pleurisy, stops your lungs moving smoothly as you breathe.
The symptoms of pneumonia are often very similar to those of other chest infections, such as bronchitis, COPD flare-ups or bronchiectasis flare-ups. To get a proper diagnosis youll need to visit your GP.
If you feel unwell with these symptoms, see your GP or call 111. If you have chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, quick breathing, shivers or confusion, get urgent advice from your GP or call 999. Take extra care if youre over 65.
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Take Steps To Help Your Body Recover
The following steps can help your body recover from pneumonia.
- Choose heart-healthy foods, because good nutrition helps your body recover.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help you stay hydrated.
- Dont drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Alcohol and illegal drugs weaken your immune system and can raise the risk of complications from pneumonia.
- Dont smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Breathing in smoke can worsen your pneumonia. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. For free help quitting smoking, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Get plenty of sleep. Good quality sleep can help your body rest and improve the response of your immune system. For more information on sleep, visit our How Sleep Works health topic.
- Get light physical activity. Moving around can help you regain your strength and improve your recovery. However, you may still feel short of breath, and activity that is too strenuous may make you dizzy. Talk to your doctor about how much activity is right for you.
- Sit upright to help you feel more comfortable and breathe more easily.
- Take a couple of deep breaths several times a day.
Delirium Confusion Or Changes In Mental Awareness
As pneumonia is a condition that causes inflammation and infection, its possible for it to interfere with brain function and possibly lead to delirium, which Healthline.com defines as an abrupt change in the brain that causes mental confusion and emotional disruption.
Such confusionwhich may also be the result of a high fever or lack of oxygen in the bloodis particularly common in adults with pneumonia that are 65 years of age or older, and they may become disoriented or lack awareness of whats going on around them.
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What Makes You More Likely To Have Pneumonia
It is important to talk to your doctor about your risks of developing pneumonia and which vaccines will help protect you from it. Dr. Manuelpillai
Youre most at risk for pneumonia if you:
- Are older than 65 years old or less than 6 months old, but particularly less than 2 months and/or born preterm.
- Close contact with someone who is sick.
- Use tobacco or are exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Use drugs or chronic alcohol use.
- Recently hospitalized.
- Have underlying medical issues, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , heart disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, renal disease, sickle cell disease, asplenia, tuberculosis risk factors, or the flu.
- Are immunocompromised, such as having HIV, receiving chemotherapy or radiation, regularly taking steroids, had a transplant, or have sickle cell disease.
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.
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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.
How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
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Purplish Skin Lips And Fingernails
Pneumonia may also cause the skin to take on a dusky or purplish skin color, as described byMedicalNewsToday.com. It may be most noticeable on areas of the body such as the lips and fingernails.
This change in skin color is a condition known as cyanosis, and is usually caused by low oxygen levels in the red blood cells or problems getting oxygenated blood to your body, says Healthline.com. Cyanosis occurs in people with pneumonia because inflamed air sacs in the lungs make it hard to breathe and, therefore, get a sufficient amount of oxygen into the body. As with sweating, the source indicates this symptom is particularly common in cases of bacterial 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.
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What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Three types of fungi living in soil are known causes of pneumonia:
- Coccidioides immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii are two related fungi common to the American Southwest. Both can cause coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever.
- Histoplasma capsulatum is found in the central and eastern United States, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and causes a disease called histoplasmosis.
- Cryptococcus is a fungi found in soil and bird droppings all across the country.
Most people who inhale these fungi don’t get sick, but if your immune system is weak, you may develop pneumonia.
Another fungus, Pneumocystis jirovecii, can generate an infection in premature, malnourished infants, and in people with a weakened immune system, such as those who have HIV or AIDS.
The symptoms of pneumonia that are caused by fungi are often similar to those of other forms of pneumonia, including a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
But because this type of pneumonia usually affects people with weakened immune systems, symptoms tend to develop faster, and people often experience a high fever.
What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
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Early Signs Of Pneumonia
The early signs of pneumonia vary from mild to severe such as fever, nausea, vomiting,dry or cough with mucus, difficulty in breathing, chest pains, unusual weakness etc
Early Signs of Pneumonia
Pneumonia in general terms is an infection caused by a variety of microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites either in one or both the lungs. Often, the infection of pneumonia begins after it first affects the nose and throat also known as the upper respiratory tract. This results in collection of fluids in the lungs which makes the breathing process difficult.
Symptoms of pneumonia irrespective of the cause usually come in suddenly in, otherwise healthy people, who are below the age of 65. The signs of pneumonia often start developing initially with a viral infection such as a cold or flu. The early signs of pneumonia in adults can vary from, Mild, Moderate to severe depending on the cause. If the early signs of Pneumonia are ignored, it may prove to be fatal or dangerous.
A bacterial pneumonia on the other hand usually develops more quickly and show obvious symptoms such as cough with green or little blood in mucus, fever, episodes of shivering, difficulty in breathing, sharp pain in the chest walls etc. An infected person may also feel rapid increase in heartbeat, unusual weakness and tiredness, nausea, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea.
How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.
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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
Most Common Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Health Check Certified By: Dr. Gerald Morris
Pneumonia is a type of lung, or respiratory, infection that begins with an innocent cough, but then turns into a sudden high fever with labored breathing. For most people, pneumonia is treatable with prescription medication , with all symptoms vanishing in a few weeks. However, for babies, seniors, and those with other medical conditions, a bout of pneumonia can mean hospitalization with serious symptoms.
Heres a look at the 15 most common symptoms of pneumonia
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Besides Vaccination What Else Can I Do To Prevent Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia
Receiving all recommended vaccinations is one of the best ways to prevent pneumonia. Additionally, there are several other ways to prevent pneumonia, including:
- Quitting smoking, and avoiding secondhand smoke. Smoking damages your lungs.
- Washing your hands before eating, before handling food, after using the restroom, and after being outside. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding being around people who are sick. Ask them to visit when they are feeling better.
- Not touching or sharing objects that are shared with others. Germs can be transferred from object to you if you touch your nose or mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
- Eating a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough rest. Healthy habits keep your immune system strong.
- Getting treated for any other infections or health conditions you may have. These conditions could weaken your immune system, which could increase your chance of infections.
- Avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.