How To Reduce Your Risk Of Pneumonia
The following actions can help lower your chance of getting pneumonia and other respiratory infections:
- Get vaccinated. There are several vaccines that help protect against infections caused by certain bacteria or viruses that may lead to pneumonia. For instance, the flu vaccine can help prevent pneumonia caused by the flu virus, and the pneumococcal vaccine can reduce your risk of getting pneumonia caused the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia. Discuss your vaccine needs with your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often. Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing and eating food and after using the bathroom, blowing your nose or coming into contact with someone who is sick.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, get help to quit. Smoking reduces your lung’s ability to fight infections.
- Don’t share personal items. This includes not sharing utensils toothbrushes and towels with other people, especially those who are sick.
- Have a healthy lifestyle. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can help keep your immune system strong so you don’t get sick. If you become ill, having healthy habits may help you recover more quickly.
What Is Valley Fever
Valley fever, also called coccidioidomycosis, is an infection in the lungs caused by a Coccidioides fungus that is usually found in the southwest United States, Central and South America, and Washington state. The condition is usually mild and gets better on its own, but some people with moderate to severe infections may need antifungal drugs to cure the disease. Valley fever is also known as San Joaquin Valley Fever or desert rheumatism.
Can Valley Fever Be Prevented
Unfortunately, its hard to avoid breathing in Coccidioides fungal spores if you live in an area where they are common. While you may not be able to prevent Valley fever completely, you can take steps to reduce your risk for developing it.
- Avoid areas where you will be exposed to dirt or dust, if possible. If you must be in these areas, use an N95 respirator mask to help filter fungal spores out of the air you breathe.
- Close your windows and stay inside during dust storms.
- Avoid activities like gardening, digging, or other yard work that can expose you to fungal spores.
- Use air filters indoors.
- If you have a cut or scrape on your skin, be sure to clean the injury well with soap and water. This can help you avoid possible skin infection.
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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.
How Do I Know If I Have Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms may present within 24 hours after infection or come on slowly. Common symptoms of pneumonia sometimes resemble cold- or flu-like symptoms including coughing, fever, and trouble breathing.
The cough itself may be wet or productive, meaning you cough up yellow, green, or even brown mucus from the lungs. Hemoptysis and coughing at night can also occur during a bout of pneumonia.
A high fever, upward of 105 degrees, can be a reaction to the body fighting an infection associated with pneumonia. If youre feverish, you may experience chills, sweating, and shaking.
Difficulty breathing may feel like shortness of breath, or feeling like you cant catch your breath. Chest pains, including sharp or stabbing feelings when coughing or trying to take a deep breath, are common once pneumonia develops. Furthermore, cyanosis may occur, causing your lips, fingertips, or skin to turn blue from a lack of oxygen.
Additional symptoms of pneumonia can include a loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
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How Is Pneumonia Treated
How pneumonia is treated depends on the germs that cause it.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. The specific antibiotic choice depends on such factors as your general health, other health conditions you may have, the type of medications you are currently taking , your recent use of antibiotics, any evidence of antibiotic resistance in the local community and your age. Medicines to relieve pain and lower fever may also be helpful. Ask your doctor if you should take a cough suppressant. Its important to be able to cough to clear your lungs.
- Viral pneumonia: Antibiotics are not used to fight viruses. There are no treatments for most viral causes of pneumonia. However, if the flu virus is thought to be the cause, antiviral drugs might be prescribed, such as oseltamivir , zanamivir , or peramivir , to decrease the length and severity of the illness. Over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain and lower fever are usually recommended. Other medicines and therapies such as breathing treatments and exercises to loosen mucus may be prescribed by your doctor.
- Fungal pneumonia: Antifungal medication is prescribed if a fungus is the cause of your pneumonia.
Who Is At Risk
Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world but is more common in low- and middle-income countries where fewer people get pneumococcal vaccine. In more temperate climates, pneumococcal disease is more common during winter and early spring. In tropical climates with dry and rainy seasons, pneumococcal disease tends to occur more in the dry season.
Travelers are more likely to get pneumococcal disease if they spend time in crowded settings or in close contact with children in countries where pneumococcal vaccine is not routinely used.
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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.
Going To The Hospital
If you have severe pneumonia, you may have to go to the hospital:
- In most cases of pneumonia you get in your daily life, such as at school or work , it is not necessary to go to the hospital.footnote 2
- About one-third of people with community-based pneumonia are age 65 or older.footnote 2 Older adults are treated in the hospital more often and stay longer for the condition than younger people.footnote 2 Pneumonia is more serious in this group, because they often have and may develop other medical problems.
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What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough. You will likely cough up mucus from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
- Fever, chills, and sweating.
- Feeling very tired or very weak.
When you have less severe symptoms, your doctor may call this “walking pneumonia.”
Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delirium is common. Or, if they already have a lung disease, that disease may get worse.
Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.
It Might Feel Like A Cold
Walking pneumonia is how some people describe a mild case of pneumonia. Your doctor might call it âatypical pneumoniaâ because itâs not like more serious cases.
A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:
- Inhaled food
Walking pneumonia usually is due to bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
You probably wonât have to stay in bed or in the hospital. You might even feel good enough go to work and keep up your routine, just as you might with a cold.
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Take Steps To Protect Yourself And Others
The following steps can help you prevent spreading the infection to others around you.
- Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Get rid of used tissues right away.
- Limit contact with family and friends.
- Wash your hands often, especially after coughing and sneezing.
Some people get pneumonia again and again. Tell your doctor if this happens. Return to Prevention to find more strategies to help prevent pneumonia.
Is Pneumonia Contagious Yes When It’s Caused By Bacteria Or Viruses
- Most types of pneumonia are contagious.
- When pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria as it usually is it can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets.
- To prevent the spread of pneumonia, you should practice good hygiene, work to boost your immune system, refrain from smoking, and get the necessary vaccines.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to fill with fluid or pus. Each year, more than 250,000 Americans are hospitalized with pneumonia, and about 50,000 die from the disease.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the type and severity, but they typically include:
- Difficulty breathing
There are many different types of pneumonia and most of them can be contagious. Here’s what you need to know about the types of pneumonia, how they spread, and how to protect yourself.
How Is Walking Pneumonia Different From Regular Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia differs from typical pneumonia in several ways, including:
- Walking pneumonia is a milder form of pneumonia.
- Walking pneumonia usually does not require bed rest or hospitalization.
- Walking pneumonia is usually caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Typical pneumonia is most commonly caused by _Streptococcus _pneumonia or influenza virus or rhinovirus.
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 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.
Get The Necessary Vaccines
In addition, there are several vaccines that can help protect against some viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia, Cutler says.
These include the following:
- Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends this vaccine for babies and children younger than two years old and adults age 65 and older.
- Influenza vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine every year to protect against the infectious diseases and related health complications, like pneumonia.
- Hib vaccine. The CDC recommends this vaccine for all children younger than five years old. It protects against the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria that can cause pneumonia and meningitis.
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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
What Is Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae . People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
- Brain and spinal cord tissue
Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death. You can find a full list of symptoms for each part of the body that is affected on the symptoms and complications of pneumococcal disease page.
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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.
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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What Stands Out About Yale Medicines Approach To Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a common infection in both children and adults and can often be easily treated. However, if specialized care is required, Yale Medicine physicians practice at both Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Childrens Hospital.
Furthermore, our researchers are involved in developing ways to more quickly and accurately diagnose lung infections through the Yale Center for Pulmonary Infection Research and Treatment . We dont tend to think of pneumonia as a chronic condition. But some patients end up with longer-term problems, says Dr. Dela Cruz, director of the CPIRT. The center focuses on finding new potential treatment options and running clinical trials to better understand the disease.