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.
Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
- Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
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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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.
Defining Pneumonia By Origin Of Infection
Health care providers often classify pneumonia based on where the disease is contracted. This helps predict which organisms are most likely responsible for the illness and, therefore, which treatment is most likely to be effective.
People with this type of pneumonia contracted the infection outside of a hospital setting. It is one of the most common infectious diseases. It often follows a viral respiratory infection, such as the flu.
One of the most common causes of bacterial CAP is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other causes include Haemophilus influenza , Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydia pneumoniae .
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Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
When to call a doctor
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
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Pneumonia Arising In Institutional Settings
- Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is an infection of the lungs contracted during a hospital stay. This type of pneumonia tends to be more serious because patients in the hospital already have weakened defense mechanisms, and the infecting organisms are usually more dangerous than those encountered in the community. Hospital patients are particularly vulnerable to Gram-negative bacteria, which are resistant to many antibiotics, and staphylococci. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is also called nosocomial pneumonia.
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia . A subgroup of hospital-acquired pneumonia is VAP, a very serious infection contracted by patients on ventilators in hospitals and long-term nursing facilities.
- Nursing-home acquired pneumonia. Pneumonia acquired in a nursing home or other long-term care facility is the second most common type of infection in these facilities, and it is usually bacterial. This type of pneumonia is sometimes difficult to diagnose as older populations are less likely to report fever, chills, and chest pain. Chest radiography and physical exam are necessary. Sputum sample and antigen tests may be helpful.
The term “healthcare associated pneumonia” is also utilized for all the above types of pneumonia as a group.
The 4 Stages Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Lobar pneumonia is typically the more fatal form of this infection because it tends to encompass the entirety of the lobe.
While lobar pneumonia is usually described as moving through phases, new research suggests that severe illness or even death can occur in any of these stages, and you may not move through these stages in an orderly fashion. Its also possible for you to be in more than one stage of this progression at a time.
Typically, these stages are used to help guide treatment and grade the severity of a lobar pneumonia infection. Below is an explanation of each stage.
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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.
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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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
- Breathing symptoms that get worse
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
- Fast or painful breathing
- Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
- Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
- Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement
Bacterial Vs Viral Pneumonia Symptoms
Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. Fungi and parasites can sometimes cause it.
When the cause is bacteria, the illness can come on either slowly or quickly. It tends to be more serious than other types.
When a virus causes your pneumonia, youâre more likely to notice symptoms over several days. Early signs will look like the flu — such as fever, dry cough, headache, and weakness — but get worse in a day or two.
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How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better
How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:
- Your age
- The cause of your pneumonia
- The severity of your pneumonia
- If you have other at-risk conditions
If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.
What Is Pneumonia Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Pneumonia is a lower respiratory lung infection that causes inflammation in one or both lungs.
Air sacs in your lungs called alveoli can then fill up with fluid or pus, causing flu-like symptoms that can persist for weeks or cause rapid deterioration of breathing leading to hospitalization. Pneumonia doesn’t respond to over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines.
Pneumonia comes in different forms and is caused primarily by bacteria or viruses, which are contagious, and less commonly by fungi or parasites.
The type of germ contributes to how serious the illness can become and how its treated. The severity of an infection depends on many factors, including your age and overall health, as well as where you may have acquired the illness.
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Severe Or Complicated Pneumonia
As you move into the red or gray hepatization phases of pneumonia, you may need to be treated with intravenous antibiotics or fluids. You may also require supplemental oxygen.
Medications used in more severe cases of pneumonia requiring inpatient care usually include formulas that combine more than one type of antibiotic, such as:
Viral pneumonia caused by influenza may also require the use of oseltamivir, an antiviral medication, which is predominantly used to shorten the course of viral pneumonia.
In severe cases, you may also need direct drainage of fluids from your lungs with a chest tube.
A chest tube could be used if a person develops a parapneumonic effusion, which is not in the lungs but around the lungs in the thoracic cavity, which is also known as the pleural space.
You will be observed closely for any complications if you have other health conditions like:
- kidney disease
- other lung conditions
People with other conditions are more likely to have pneumonia that progresses to or multi-organ failure and even death.
How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
Do I have a cold or could it be the flu or even pneumonia? Its tough to tell the difference but critical to know when to seek medical care
Watch for these ongoing symptoms that occur in pneumonia:
- Serious congestion or chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A fever of 102 or higher.
- Coughing that produces pus.
Pneumonia symptoms last longer than cold and flu. If your symptoms arent severe, its okay to try such home remedies as getting more rest, drinking more fluids and taking some over-the-counter medicines and see what happens. But if you dont see improvement in your symptoms after three to five days, or if you are experiencing more serious symptoms such as dizziness or severe difficulty breathing, see your healthcare provider. Dont let it go. Pneumonia-like symptoms in very young children or in adults older than 65 are a cause for concern. Also, pneumonia can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated for too long. And always seek immediate care if you experience chest pain or have breathing difficulties.
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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:
- Any recent travel
- Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
- Whether you have recently had another illness
Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.
If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:
- Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test on a sample of mucus taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
Treatment And Medication Options For Pneumonia
A lot of treatment aspects, as well as outcome, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have, says Dr. Barron. Sometimes youll be fine just resting, but if you have things like trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.
Your doctor will outline a plan that’s specific to you, considering the type of pneumonia you have, the severity of the condition, your age, and your overall health. From there, you’ll know whether you can be treated at home or need to go to the hospital, and whether you require antibiotics.
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Good Hygiene And Preventing Transmission
The best way to prevent serious respiratory infections such as pneumonia is to avoid sick people and to practice good hygiene.
Colds and flu are spread primarily from infected people who cough or sneeze. People commonly transmit a cold when they shake hands. Washing hands frequently can prevent the spread of viral respiratory illnesses. Always wash your hands before eating and after going outside. Using ordinary soap is sufficient. Alcohol-based gels are also effective for everyday use, and may even kill cold viruses. If extreme hygiene is required, use alcohol-based rinses.
Antibacterial soaps add little protection, particularly against viruses. Wiping surfaces with a solution that contains 1 part bleach to 10 parts water is very effective at killing viruses.
What Increases Your Risk Factors For Walking Pneumonia
Like pneumonia, the risk for developing walking pneumonia is higher if you are:
- over age of 65 years old
- 2 years old or younger
Since walking pneumonia tends to be mild, some people with the illness choose not to get a formal diagnosis. But other serious diseases can cause symptoms that look like walking pneumonia. If symptoms continue to worsen after a few days, consider checking in with a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment for walking pneumonia depends on whats causing the disease. Walking pneumonia from bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. A healthcare professional may use antiviral medications to treat cases caused by viruses.
For very mild cases of walking pneumonia, treatment may simply involve managing symptoms at home and resting.
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