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.
Why Does It Happen
Pneumonia symptoms may be milder or subtler in many at-risk populations. This is because many at-risk groups have a weakened immune system or a chronic or acute condition.
Because of this, these people may not receive the care that they need until the infection has become severe. Its very important to be aware of the development of any symptoms and to seek prompt medical attention.
Additionally, pneumonia can worsen preexisting chronic conditions, particularly those of the heart and lungs. This can lead to a rapid decline in condition.
Most people do eventually recover from pneumonia. However, the 30-day mortality rate is 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients. It can be up to 30 percent in those admitted to intensive care.
The cause of your pneumonia can often determine the severity of the infection.
Viral Factors Implicated In Severity Of Infection
Neuraminidase enables the release of newly formed progeny virions by hydrolysing the sialic acid and detaching it from the HA the virion becomes liberated from the host cell . To be truly effective the NA must be complementary and share the same receptor specificity as HA, so if the viral HA binds to 2-3 sialic acid then the NA should hydrolyse 2-3 sialic acid .
The production of viral toxins that impact host cell integrity is another important factor in the development of co/secondary bacterial infection. Influenza A virus can produce a viral cytotoxin PB1-F2 which plays a role in increasing inflammation and therefore host cell damage and bacterial adherence, increasing mortality and morbidity . It also helps reduce bacterial clearance, increasing the occurrence and severity of co/secondary bacterial infection, by causing cell death in host monocytes .
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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
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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Critical Role Of Pneumococcal Vaccine In Preventing Pneumonia
In children aged three months to four years, the most common type of bacterial pneumonia is Strep. pneumoniae. In children greater than age four, it remains in the top three most common types. The pneumococcal vaccine series, started at two months of age, significantly reduces the rates of bacterial pneumonia from Strep. Pneumoniae. The vaccine is usually administered during wellness or prevention visits and cannot be given to a child with a fever. This emphasizes the need for healthcare access globally.6
With global vaccination rates currently plateauing, the challenges of diagnosing and treating community acquired pneumonia are even more pertinent for prevention of severe respiratory illness. Vaccine uptake challenges can be overcome with global measures to increase the access and use of vaccines. Addressing vaccine use and providing education about common pneumonia symptoms can aid in early diagnosis of pneumonia and lower the rate of severe respiratory illness and prolonged hospitalization.
World Health Organization Health Topics. Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals: National programs and systems on improving vaccination demand and addressing hesitancy. 17 June 2020 update.
Popovsky EY, Florin TA. Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Childhood. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. 2020 B978-0-08-102723-3.00013-5. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-102723-3.00013-5
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 Main Differences Between Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia
Common symptoms of pneumonia include3
- difficulty breathing
- increased breathing rate
When a patient presents with these symptoms, the next step is to examine the lungs with a stethoscope. With pneumonia, decreased breath sounds, wheezing, or crackles on listening to the lungs, are all indications that can help point towards a diagnosis. The next step is to order a radiograph or X-ray if pneumonia is suspected.
The radiograph still remains the reference standard for a medical diagnosis of pneumonia, and also helps to differentiate between bacterial and viral pneumonia. However, a combination of clinical symptoms, exam findings, and imaging is the best way to uncover the most likely culprit.3,4
Diagnostic Tests And Procedures
If your doctor thinks you have pneumonia, he or she may do one or more of the following tests.
- Chest X-ray to look for inflammation in your lungs. A chest X-ray is often used to diagnose pneumonia.
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count to see whether your immune system is fighting an infection.
- Pulse oximetry to measure how much oxygen is in your blood. Pneumonia can keep your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your blood. To measure the levels, a small sensor called a pulse oximeter is attached to your finger or ear.
If you are in the hospital, have serious symptoms, are older, or have other health problems, your doctor may do other tests to diagnose pneumonia.
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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.
Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia Symptoms Are Quite Similar
If you have pneumoniaeither bacterial or viralyoull typically have a cough that brings up sputum, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain when you cough or take a deep breath, says Kimberly Brown, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine doctor in Memphis, Tennessee.
It can be difficult to tell by symptoms alone whether you have viral or bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Brown.
But there is one potential tip-off that its bacterial, and not viral. Generally, bacterial pneumonia causes the more severe symptoms, Turner says.
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Respiratory And Circulatory Failure
Pneumonia can cause respiratory failure by triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome , which results from a combination of infection and inflammatory response. The lungs quickly fill with fluid and become stiff. This stiffness, combined with severe difficulties extracting oxygen due to the alveolar fluid, may require long periods of mechanical ventilation for survival. Other causes of circulatory failure are hypoxemia, inflammation, and increased coagulability.
is a potential complication of pneumonia but usually occurs in people with poor immunity or hyposplenism. The organisms most commonly involved are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Other causes of the symptoms should be considered such as a myocardial infarction or a pulmonary embolism.
What Is The Prognosis For Bacterial Pneumonia
The prognosis depends on the severity of disease and whether there are any predisposing factors. The prognosis is generally good for uncomplicated bacterial pneumonia. The prognosis for animals with predisposing factors depends on whether the risk factor can be treated or resolved. If the risk factors cannot be resolved, recurrent infections may occur. The prognosis for young or geriatric animals, patients with immunodeficiency diseases, or patients that are debilitated is guarded.
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Why Do People Get Pneumonia
That depends on what type of pneumonia it is. All sorts of virusesfrom the common cold to influenzacan lead to viral pneumonia, which is fairly contagious, Roger Lovell, MD, infectious disease specialist at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, tells Health. It passes easily between coworkers, spouses, friends, and fellow commuters.
The good news? Most cases of viral pneumonia are mild, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Typically, youll improve in a few weeks.
Bacterial pneumonia often occurs after another illness, like the cold or the flu. However, most of the time, the bacteria behind bacterial pneumonia do not spread from person to person, says Dr. Lovell.
That’s true for the number one cause of bacterial pneumonia: a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is found in many peoples throats naturally, generally without causing harm, says Dr. Lovell. The exception: “If you are not healthy or have problems with your immune system or have conditions that make it harder to fight off bacteria, then you are more susceptible to these bacteria, and it can lead to pneumonia,” he says.
Along with viral and bacterial pneumonia, there’s a third type worth knowing: fungal. This variant is far more rare and generally seen only in people with a weakened immune system due to certain conditions. Other types of pneumonia to note: necrotizing pneumonia and cryptogenic organizing pneumonia .
What Are The Treatments For Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, which germ is causing it, and how severe it is:
- Antibiotics treat bacterial pneumonia and some types of fungal pneumonia. They do not work for viral pneumonia.
- In some cases, your provider may prescribe antiviral medicines for viral pneumonia
- Antifungal medicines treat other types of fungal pneumonia
You may need to be treated in a hospital if your symptoms are severe or if you are at risk for complications. While there, you may get additional treatments. For example, if your blood oxygen level is low, you may receive oxygen therapy.
It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more.
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How Can Parents Help
Kids with pneumonia need to get plenty of rest and drink lots of liquids while the body works to fight the infection.
If your child has bacterial pneumonia and the doctor prescribed antibiotics, give the medicine on schedule for as long as directed. Keeping up with the medicine doses will help your child recover faster and help prevent the infection from spreading to others in the family. If your child is wheezing, the doctor might recommend using breathing treatments.
Ask the doctor before you use a medicine to treat your child’s cough. Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not recommended for any kids under 6 years old. If your child doesnt seem to be feeling better in a few days, call your doctor for advice.
Case Reports Of Antibacterial Therapy In Covid
These clinical reports provide insights into the complications and challenges faced in treating SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. Patients with pneumonia caused by other respiratory viruses or SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients were often prophylactically treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, in an attempt to reduce the risk of bacterial superinfections. Complications were observed in patients that were not treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant infections, in particular, nosocomial – hospital-acquired – infections were common for more than one third of ICU patients, posing a threat to disease progression, often resulting in the death of the affected individual .
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Pleural Effusion Empyema And Abscess
In pneumonia, a collection of fluid may form in the space that surrounds the lung. Occasionally, microorganisms will infect this fluid, causing an empyema. To distinguish an empyema from the more common simple parapneumonic effusion, the fluid may be collected with a needle , and examined. If this shows evidence of empyema, complete drainage of the fluid is necessary, often requiring a drainage catheter. In severe cases of empyema, surgery may be needed. If the infected fluid is not drained, the infection may persist, because antibiotics do not penetrate well into the pleural cavity. If the fluid is sterile, it must be drained only if it is causing symptoms or remains unresolved.
In rare circumstances, bacteria in the lung will form a pocket of infected fluid called a lung abscess. Lung abscesses can usually be seen with a chest X-ray but frequently require a chest CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. Abscesses typically occur in aspiration pneumonia, and often contain several types of bacteria. Long-term antibiotics are usually adequate to treat a lung abscess, but sometimes the abscess must be drained by a surgeon or radiologist.
How You Catch Pneumonia
While anyone can catch pneumonia, some people are more likely to come down with illness when coming into contact with the germs. Like many other illnesses, pneumonia is caught through contact with the bacteria or virus that creates pneumonia.
Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways these germs spread.
Its also possible to catch the illness by touching something like a counter or door handle, sharing cups and utensils, and touching your face without washing your hands first.
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How Can I Help Prevent Pneumonia In My Child
Pneumococcal pneumonia can be prevented with a vaccine that protects against 13 types of pneumococcal pneumonia. Doctors recommend that children get a series of shots beginning at age 2 months. Talk with your childs healthcare provider about this vaccine. Another vaccine is available for children older than 2 years who are at increased risk for pneumonia. Talk with your child’s healthcare to see if it is recommended for your child. Also make sure your child is up-to-date on all vaccines, including the yearly flu shot. Pneumonia can occur after illnesses such as whooping cough and the flu.
You can also help your child prevent pneumonia with good hygiene. Teach your child to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Your child should also wash their hands often. These measures can help prevent other infections, too.
Your child can be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia. There are 2 types of vaccines that can help prevent pneumococcal disease. The vaccine that is right for your child depends on their age and risk factors. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about which vaccine is best for your child and when they should get it.
Bacterial Pneumonia Caused Most Deaths In 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Implications for Future Pandemic Planning
The majority of deaths during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 were not caused by the influenza virus acting alone, report researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases , part of the National Institutes of Health. Instead, most victims succumbed to bacterial pneumonia following influenza virus infection. The pneumonia was caused when bacteria that normally inhabit the nose and throat invaded the lungs along a pathway created when the virus destroyed the cells that line the bronchial tubes and lungs.
A future influenza pandemic may unfold in a similar manner, say the NIAID authors, whose paper in the Oct. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases is now available online. Therefore, the authors conclude, comprehensive pandemic preparations should include not only efforts to produce new or improved influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs but also provisions to stockpile antibiotics and bacterial vaccines as well.
The work presents complementary lines of evidence from the fields of pathology and history of medicine to support this conclusion. “The weight of evidence we examined from both historical and modern analyses of the 1918 influenza pandemic favors a scenario in which viral damage followed by bacterial pneumonia led to the vast majority of deaths,” says co-author NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “In essence, the virus landed the first blow while bacteria delivered the knockout punch.”
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Favorite Orgs That Can Help Fight Pneumonia
Those over age 65 have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger adults. They may be especially susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia, spread among large populations of elderly people in settings such as assisted living facilities. This organization, devoted to finding the best products and services for seniors, publishes advice on how older adults should handle prevention and care.
Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia. Several national healthcare organizations and the CDC are collaborating in an effort called United Against the Flu to stress the importance of getting immunized. The groups website supplies resources and details on the vaccination.