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
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.
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.
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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
What Happens In Pneumonia
Infections are the most common contributors to the development of pneumonia. The causative pathogens can reach the lung tissue through multiple routes. The most common route of infection is the respiratory tract . However, pathogens can also reach the lung tissue through the bloodstream or from an infection present in adjacent tissues.
The arrival of pathogens in the lung tissue results in damage to the epithelial cells lining the alveoli and the capillaries that lie within the alveolar septa. The increase in vascular permeability caused by microvascular injury results in alveolar edema as the cells, proteins and fluids from the blood seep into the interstitial tissue spaces. The exudates eventually leak into the alveoli.
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Pneumonia Vs Cold And Flu Symptoms
Itâs tricky, because pneumonia can be a complication of colds and flu. This happens when the germs that cause those common illnesses get into your lungs. You might be feeling better, but then you start getting symptoms again — and this time, they can be a lot worse.
Cold symptoms tend to start slowly. Youâre more likely to sneeze and have a runny nose and sore throat than with either the flu or pneumonia. Colds donât usually cause a fever in adults.
The top clue that you have the flu is that the symptoms come on strong, seemingly out of nowhere. You may have:
- Fever above 100.4 F
Other Ways To Prevent Pneumonia
You can take the following steps to help prevent pneumonia:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs.
- Dont smoke. Smoking prevents your lungs from properly filtering out and defending your body against germs. For information about how to quit smoking, visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. These resources include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of physical activity and follow a healthy eating plan. Read more about heart-healthy living.
- If you have problems swallowing, eat smaller meals of thickened foodand sleep with the head of your bed raised up. These steps can help you avoid getting food, drink, or saliva into your lungs.
- If you have a planned surgery, your doctor may recommend that you dont eat for 8 hours or drink liquids for 2 hours before your surgery. This can help prevent food or drink from getting into your airway while you are sedated.
- If your immune system is impaired or weakened, your doctor may recommend you take antibiotics to prevent bacteria from growing in your lungs.
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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.
Cough That Produces Thick Mucus
Coughing helps to rid your body of the mucus produced from inflammation of the airways and lungs. This mucus may also contain blood.
With bronchitis or pneumonia, you may have a cough that produces thick mucus that may have a distinct color, including:
A cough can linger for several weeks even after other symptoms have improved.
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Symptoms Of Atypical Pneumonia
Atypical pneumonia is most commonly caused by mycoplasma, chlamydia, or a virus. It usually appears in children and young adults. Symptoms are usually mild and often go undiagnosed and untreated. Legionnaire disease, however, is a severe form of atypical pneumonia that usually strikes adults and seniors.
The disease progresses gradually:
- General flu-like symptoms often occur first. They may include fatigue, fever, weakness, headache, nasal discharge, sore throat, earache, and stomach and intestinal distress.
- Vague pain under and around the breastbone may occur, but the severe chest pain associated with typical bacterial pneumonia is uncommon.
- People may have a severe hacking cough, but it usually does not produce sputum.
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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Things You Should Know About Pneumonia
- By Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus, which makes it harder to breathe. The most common symptoms are cough that may be dry or produce phlegm, fever, chills and fatigue. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the chest. and shortness of breath. Signs that indicate a more severe infection are shortness of breath, confusion, decreased urination and lightheadedness. In the U.S., pneumonia accounts for 1.3 visits to the Emergency Department, and 50,000 deaths annually.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect people around the world, pneumonia has become an even larger health concern. Some people infected with the COVID-19 have no symptoms, while others may experience fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell.
The more severe symptoms of COV-19, such as high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, usually mean significant lung involvement. The lungs can be damaged by overwhelming COVID-19 viral infection, severe inflammation, and/or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. COVID-19 can lead to long lasting lung damage.
Here are other important facts you should know about pneumonia:,
Bacterial Pneumonia And Their Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia is the most commonly diagnosed type of pneumonia. When people talk about pneumonia in general without specifying the type of pneumonia, they are talking about bacterial pneumonia. Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia may vary from very mild, hard-to-detect symptoms to life-threatening severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. We will look at the specific symptoms in specific situations. Please look for the possible symptoms based on which of the following situations apply to you.
Bacterial pneumonia may also be divided into two types based on where you caught the pneumonia:
- Community acquired bacterial pneumonia
- Hospital acquired bacterial pneumonia
Mild bacterial community acquired pneumonia symptoms in otherwise healthy adults
If you are in good health when you catch pneumonia, you may only have mild symptoms. You may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Mild fevers and chills
- Low blood pressures
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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.
When Should I See My Doctor
Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.
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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus
A new cause of severe pneumonia was first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. Within a year, 58 cases, including 33 deaths, were reported in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates , France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom. Since 2012 there have been over 1730 cases. The World Health Organization warns this new viral illness could become a pandemic. However, person-to-person transmission has been limited to close contacts. In the United States, no cases of MERS have been reported since 2014.
Warning Signs Your Lungs Are Trying To Give You Post
Your lungs can give you some signs which may signal that something is wrong within your body. Especially when it comes to pneumonia, there are certain signs which may help you spot the condition fast and start the treatment before it is too late for you to save your lungs. According to the experts, the onset of pneumonia can be quite sudden, as in without any prior signals. This is why it is important for you to track the actions of your lungs and understand the abnormalities going on inside your system. COVID-19 wrecks havoc on the lungs, and these conditions thereafter can lead to symptoms such as a phlegm-producing cough. Check out for these subtle, yet warning symptoms of pneumonia post-COVID recovery.
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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.
Aspiration Pneumonia And Anaerobic Bacteria
The mouth contains a mixture of bacteria that is normally harmless. However, if this mixture reaches the lungs, it can cause a serious condition called aspiration pneumonia. This may happen after a head injury or general anesthesia, or when a person takes drugs or alcohol. In such cases, the gag reflex does not work as well as it should, so bacteria can enter the airways. Unlike other organisms that are inhaled, some of the bacteria that cause aspiration pneumonia do not need oxygen to live. These bacteria are called anaerobic bacteria.
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What Happens To Your Lungs When You Get Covid
COVID-19 virus infection is so far the worst battle that mankind has ever witnessed. It is a severe respiratory disease that mainly targets the lungs, leading to several serious symptoms such as drop-in oxygen levels, trouble in breathing, etc. So what exactly happens to your lungs when you catch the virus? According to the studies, the virus gets into the body through respiratory organs such as the mouth, nose, etc. After entering the body the virus comes in contact with the mucous membranes which are present in the respiratory tract innings. The virus then enters one healthy cell and the cell, in turn, makes new virus parts. This one cell then multiplies, and the new viruses then infect the other cells present nearby. The virus then splits into smaller and smaller branches in the lungs. Thus infecting the lungs and the alveoli slowly, leading to symptoms like breathing issues, cough, etc.
How Do The Lungs Work
Your lungs main job is to get oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. This happens during breathing. You breathe 12 to 20 times per minute when you are not sick. When you breathe in, air travels down the back of your throat and passes through your voice box and into your windpipe . Your trachea splits into two air passages . One bronchial tube leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung. For the lungs to perform their best, the airways need to be open as you breathe in and out. Swelling and mucus can make it harder to move air through the airways, making it harder to breathe. This leads to shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than normal.
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What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.
You are more likely to have complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune system, or have a serious medical problem like diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications may include:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome . This is a severe form of respiratory failure.
Lung abscesses. These are pockets of pus that form inside or around the lung. They may need to be drained with surgery
Respiratory failure. This requires the use of a breathing machine or ventilator.
This is when the infection gets into the blood. It may lead to organ failure.
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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