What To Think About
In most cases pneumonia is a short-term, treatable illness. But frequent bouts of pneumonia can be a serious complication of a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . If you have a severe long-term illness, it may be hard to treat your pneumonia, or you may choose not to treat it. You and your doctor should discuss this. This discussion may include information about how to create an advance care plan.
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There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent getting pneumonia.
- Stop smoking. You’re more likely to get pneumonia if you smoke.
- Avoid people who have infections that sometimes lead to pneumonia.
- Stay away from people who have colds, the flu, or other respiratory tract infections.
- If you haven’t had measles or chickenpox or if you didn’t get vaccines against these diseases, avoid people who have them.
Underlying Causes Of Recurrent Pneumonia In Children
Most children with correctly identified recurrent pneumonia have a known predisposing factor. Some of theses factors and underlying medical conditions include:
- Aspiration Syndrome was the most common underlying cause in children with recurrent pneumonia
- Pulmonary anomalies and structural abnormalities
- Immune disorders and immunological abnormalities
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Hypersecretory Asthma: excess production of bronchial secretions
- Bronchiectasis: Causes of bronchiectasis include cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia, immunodeficiency, retained foreign body and recurrent aspiration
Can You Catch Pneumonia More Than Once
Yes. Pneumonia is caused by many different microbes, and so getting it once does not protect you from getting it again. If you get pneumonia more than once you may need to have more investigations to understand why this has happened. It could be due to a problem in your chest or your immune system, and you may be referred to a specialist.
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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.
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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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
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.
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What Increases Your Risk
You are more likely to get pneumonia if you:
- Smoke. Cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for pneumonia in healthy young people.
- Have another medical condition, especially lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
- Are younger than 1 year of age or older than 65.
- Have an impaired immune system.
- Take medicine called a proton pump inhibitor that reduces the amount of stomach acid.footnote 3, footnote 4
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Recently had a cold or the flu.
You are more likely to have complications of pneumonia and need to go to the hospital if you:
- Are older than 65.
- Have some other illness , or have gone to the hospital for a medical problem within the last 3 months.
- Have had your spleen removed or do not have a working spleen .
- Have an alcohol use problem.
- Have a weak immune system.
- Reside in a place where people live close together, such as a university dorm or nursing home.
Returning To Everyday Activities
Regardless of whether you could treat your pneumonia at home or you were hospitalized for pneumonia, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself as you recover. Here are some recovery tips:
- Stay home:Be sure you stay home until your fever breaks and your coughing is at least minimal. Staying home and resting not only improves your recovery, it also protects anyone you come into contact with from getting sick.
- Get plenty of rest:Take naps when you need to, and hang low while recovering.
- Drink plenty of fluids:This will help keep your body hydrated as it works to flush out your illness.
- Complete prescription medication: Make sure to complete the full course of any antibiotics, even if youre feeling better.
- Pace yourself:Ease into your typical everyday life.
Pneumonia is a serious infection capable of damaging your lungs. While many people seem to recover from pneumonia fully, its possible your lungs will not be able to return to the same level of activity as before.
This possibility is just one reason why its important to slowly ramp up your activity level as you heal, and practice any breathing techniques your healthcare provider may recommend.
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Pneumonia Is Very Common In The United States
Pneumonia is a very common illness in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , nearly 1.3 million Americans were diagnosed with pneumonia in 2017. The agency says that while most people who come down with pneumonia in the country are adults, this lung infection can affect people of all ages. And for more coronavirus concerns, know that Dr. Fauci Just Issued This New Chilling Warning About COVID.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Pneumonia
How do you get pneumonia? The majority of the germs that cause infection are spread from person to person through droplets, from coughing or sneezing.
- A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus or cancer
People who smoke are at higher risk for pneumonia, as are people on immunosuppressive medications, and people who are frequently in close, crowded spaces with others, such as college students and military personnel.
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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.
What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
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What Are The Possible Outcomes Of Recurrent Pneumonia
The prognosis depends on the underlying cause. Successful asthma therapy usually prevents further episodes of pneumonia. The average age of death for patients with CF is now 38.5 years and consistently increasing as new therapies become available. If aspiration can be eliminated or minimized, the recurrent pneumonia usually resolves. Successful assistance with airway clearance for patients with weakness or mucociliary clearance defects will also reduce the frequency of pneumonia.
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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The Effects Of Pneumonia On The Body
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. Fungi can induce pneumonia, too. The infection causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs. This results in a buildup of fluid that makes it hard to breathe. Pneumonia can be a medical emergency, especially among high-risk groups like people over 65 and children 5 or younger.
Pneumonia typically affects the lungs, but complications can lead to problems in other areas of the body, too. These can be very serious and even deadly. Your risk, treatment, and recovery time depend on what caused the infection, your age, and any additional health issues you had before getting pneumonia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
If you have pneumonia, youll have symptoms that are similar to having flu or a chest infection. Symptoms may develop gradually over a few days but can progress much faster.
The main symptom is coughing. You may feel generally unwell, weak and tired, and youll probably have at least one of these symptoms too:
- coughing up mucus that may become yellow or green
- a high temperature you might also sweat and shiver
- difficulty breathing or getting out of breath quicker than normal
- chest pain or discomfort
Even if you have pneumonia, you may not have all these symptoms.
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Other Clinical Manifestations That Might Help With Diagnosis And Management
If the radiographic abnormalities are persistent rather than recurrent, it is more likely that a structural problem exists. Congenital foregut malformations include: congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation , congenital pulmonary airway malformation , bronchogenic cysts, congenital lobar overdistention, sequestration, and esophageal duplication. Surgical resection is curative. Retained foreign body, endobronchial tumor, or extrinsic airway compression can also lead to persistent pneumonia and are identified at the time of bronchoscopy.
How To Regain Your Strength After Pneumonia
While recovering from mild pneumonia, be sure to:
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Slowly work back into your exercise routine
“Physical activity can help your lungs regain strength but go slow. Start with light exercise and stop if your cough worsens or you have trouble breathing. If a light workout feels okay, you can put a little more effort into your next workout,” says Dr. Lee.
However, Dr. Lee’s advice for someone recovering from severe pneumonia looks quite different.
“The first thing to realize is that your body may be extremely weak after being discharged from the hospital, so you’ll need to take extra care leaning on your support network, if possible,” says Dr. Lee.
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Bronchitis Vs Pneumonia: Why Theyre Related And How Theyre Different
A pneumonia diagnosis is based on your medical history, a physical exam, and certain test results. Your doctor determines which type of pneumonia you have based on how you became infected, what your X-ray or lung exam reveals, and which kind of germ is responsible for your infection.
During a physical exam, your doctor will check your vital signs and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. Decreased breath sounds is an indication of a lot of inflammation, says Michelle Barron, MD, a professor in the division of infectious diseases at University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.
If your doctor suspects pneumonia, they may order further diagnostic tests, such as a chest X-ray to help determine the extent of the infection. Blood tests and an analysis of the patients sputum can pinpoint whats causing the pneumonia. Pulse oximetry measures the oxygen level in your blood .
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia
“Pneumonia is a serious illness that can take quite a toll on a person’s lungs and body. It can take anywhere from a week to several months to fully recover from it,” says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
The length of time it takes for you to recover from pneumonia is influenced by:
- Your age
- The severity of your illness
- Whether you have other health conditions
- The type of pneumonia
If you’re generally healthy and have only a mild case of pneumonia, your symptoms should begin to improve one to two days after starting treatment.
“Most people with mild pneumonia are able to return to their everyday activities in a week, although fatigue and cough can linger for an entire month,” says Dr. Lee.
Recovery timelines become more murky for people who have severe pneumonia.
“For more serious cases that require hospitalization, we’re not only focused on clearing the infection, we’re also focused on preventing or treating complications that can develop including difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung abscesses,” warns Dr. Lee.
Pneumonia and its complications can wreak havoc on a person’s lungs and body. And, it can take anywhere from one to six months for a person to recover and regain strength after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
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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.