What Are The Warning Signs Of Pneumonia
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include: Cough , which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus. Fever , sweating and shaking chills. Shortness of breath. Rapid, shallow breathing. Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough . Loss of appetite , low energy, and fatigue .
What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is a mild form of pneumonia . This non-medical term has become a popular description because you may feel well enough to be walking around, carrying out your daily tasks and not even realize you have pneumonia.
Most of the time, walking pneumonia is caused by an atypical bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which can live and grow in the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs . It can be treated with antibiotics.
Scientists call walking pneumonia caused by mycoplasma atypical because of the unique features of the bacteria itself. Several factors that make it atypical include:
- Milder symptoms
- Natural resistance to medicines that would normally treat bacterial infections
- Often mistaken for a virus because they lack the typical cell structure of other bacteria
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 Does The Doctor Know If I Have Walking Pneumonia
Some cases of walking pneumonia are never diagnosed because people donât seek medical help. If you do go to the doctor, the diagnosis will depend on your medical history and the results of a physical exam. The doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms and how long you have had them. The doctor may also ask you about where you work and whether anyone at home or at work is also sick.
During the physical, the doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. The doctor may also ask for a chest X-ray and a blood test. There is a blood test that can specifically identify a mycoplasma infection. Itâs seldom done, though, unless there is a widespread outbreak thatâs being studied. Another blood test is used that identifies the increased presence of certain immune substances called cold agglutinins. This test wonât confirm that you have walking pneumonia, but it can suggest it.
Diagnosis Of Walking Pneumonia
This might come as a surprise to you that more often than not walking pneumonia goes undiagnosed and untreated. As the symptoms experienced are so mild in nature, one cant usually tell if they suffer from a condition which requires a visit to the doctor.
You can casually walk in and out of a walking pneumonia this easily. But, this doesnt mean that you should ignore any symptoms as trivial and decide to not pay a visit to your doctor. That would just be wrong, you shouldnt be doing it.
Once you begin to notice the symptoms of walking pneumonia, you have met with your doctor to be certain about the nature of your disease. It is quite possible that, your symptoms may deceive you into thinking that it is walking pneumonia, while in reality it is a severe form of pneumonia or some other condition, you werent considering initially.
As you visit your doctor, to give you an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will perform a physical examination on you and take your medical history. Dont hide anything from them. I repeat. DO NOT
Initially, the doctor will examine your chest, breathing rate and observe you for the presence of congestion or wheezing with a stethoscope. Following this chest examination, if your doctor identifies a problem, he will take a chest X-ray which will further make a pneumonia diagnosis easier.
At other times, your doctor may run a culture test on the mucus sample taken from the nose or throat, that can further help confirm a diagnosis.
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Pneumonia In The Elderly
Pneumonia in the elderly is a massive topic. Did you know that there are over 30 different causes of pneumonia and that there are different types of pneumonia? In this article, we tackle some of the bigger questions people might have about pneumonia and the elderly.
We also focus on community-acquired pneumonia, which is a type of pneumonia that occurs in large populations of elderly people, such as in a hospital, an assisted living facility, or even in an apartment complex.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
The faster you get treatment, the faster you will get over pneumonia. This is especially true for the very young, for people older than 65, and for anyone with other long-lasting health problems, such as asthma.
911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
- Have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing, is increasing in intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attack.
- Have such bad trouble breathing that you are worried you will not have the strength or ability to keep breathing.
- Cough up large amounts of blood.
- Feel that you may faint when you sit up or stand.
if you have:
- A cough that produces blood-tinged or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs.
- A fever with shaking chills.
- Difficult, shallow, fast breathing with shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Frequently brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs and lasts longer than 2 days. Do not confuse mucus from your lungs with mucus running down the back of your throat from your nasal passages . Post-nasal drainage is not a worry.
- Occurs with a fever of 38.3Â°C or higher and brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs .
- Causes you to vomit a lot.
- Continues longer than 4 weeks.
Also call your doctor if you have new chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing and if you have other symptoms of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
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Where Does Pneumonia Hurt
Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of pneumonia. Chest pain is caused by the membranes in the lungs filling with fluid. This creates pain that can feel like a heaviness or stabbing sensation and usually worsens with coughing, breathing or laughing.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age and your overall health.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, especially in older people
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Early Warning Signs Of Pneumonia In A Senior
While there is no single cause for pneumonia, advanced age is considered to be a top a risk factor for this serious health problem. Confusion and/or delirium are red-flag signs of pneumonia in elderly people as well as lower-than-normal body temperatures. Other signs, which can sometimes be confused with a cold and the flu, include:
- Chest pain during breathing or coughing
- Feeling tired or weak
- Shortness of breath
While it can be hard for family members to spot these signs, professional in-home care providers are trained to monitor and track pneumonia symptoms in adults.
What Germs Cause Pneumonia
Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of germs, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Bacteria are one of the most common causes of pneumonia in adults.
The exact type of germs that cause pneumonia in older adults can vary.
One review from 2014 found that the following types of germs were more frequently isolated from adults with CAP who were ages 65 years and older:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae, a type of bacteria
- Haemophilus influenzae, another type of bacteria
- respiratory viruses, which can include viruses that cause colds, the flu, and COVID-19
Pneumonia can quickly become serious in higher risk groups, such as older adults. Because of this, early detection is very important. Some signs require a trip to the doctor, including:
- abnormal body temperature, such as a high fever or a temperature thats lower than normal
- new confusion, delirium, or changes in functional status
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
Genes Linked To Walking Pneumonia
The link between genetics and pneumonia is still uncertain. There is even less information specifically about walking pneumonia, but a couple of studies shed some light on it:
- Certain genetic variants in genes that affect the immune response can make some people more vulnerable to the bacteria that cause pneumonia. For example, the gene TLR2 codes for receptors involved in fighting bacterial infections. Variants at one of its SNPs were linked to dangerous Legionella infections and with other types of pneumonia .
- Another study discovered that genetic changes involved in the immune recognition of cells may play a role in triggering the autoimmune response that causes serious health complications in pneumonia .
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Walking Pneumonia: What Does It Mean
I found this list of symptoms of walking pneumonia on the Internet. Cough. You will likely cough up mucus from your lungs. Fever. Fast breathing and feeling short of breath. Shaking and teeth-chattering chills. Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in. Fast heartbeat. Feeling very tired or very weak Walking pneumonia is often caused by a type of bacterium that produces milder symptoms that come on more gradually than do those of other types of pneumonia. The illness often is brought home by young children who contract it at school. Family members of infected children typically begin having symptoms two or three weeks later Shortness of breath or rapid breathing. Pain in the eyes or increased soreness. Wheezing. Pain in the chest may be present or absent. Diarrhea. The lymph glands may expand or enlarge. Excessive sweating. In rare cases, adults with walking pneumonia may have infections of the ear or ear pain, rashes on the skin or anemia
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.
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Treatment Of Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia treatment depends on the causative organism, the severity of symptoms, age, and other health factors.
Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. The symptoms may subside within a few days but continue and complete the prescription.
People stop the medications if they feel better this increases the chance of reoccurrence of pneumonia with severity.
Improper medication also results in antibiotic resistance. The cough may take a little longer to subside.
Atypical pneumonia due to viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics doctors will perform a thorough analysis and prescribe medicines for the symptomatic treatment.
OTC medicines relieve aches and pains, fever, and throat. Cough suppressants are also prescribed, but little coughing can help remove them.
What Is Viral Pneumonia
Viruses are responsible for about one-third of all pneumonias, and they’re the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than age 5.
Viral pneumonias tend to clear up in about one to three weeks, but they can increase your risk for bacterial pneumonia.
Viral pneumonia is usually less serious than bacterial pneumonia.
At first, the symptoms of viral pneumonia may be similar to symptoms often associated with the flu, except you may experience a dry cough that does not produce phlegm. You may also develop a fever and headache.
But within a couple of days, these symptoms typically get worse.
Adults with viral pneumonia can also expect to develop:
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
The flu virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults, which tends to be more serious in people with heart or lung disease, senior citizens, and pregnant women.
Not only can influenza cause pneumonia, it can also predispose people to bacterial pneumonia yet another good reason to get the yearly flu shot.
Respiratory syncytial virus pneumonia is usually a mild infection that clears up in about a week or two. It can be more severe and is more common in young children and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 12 months.
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How To Prevent Pneumonia In Elderly Loved Ones
The key to preventing complications like sepsis is preventing infections like pneumonia from occurring in the first place. Since influenza predisposes elderly people to pneumonia, the number of cases tends to spike during flu season. Dr. Schaffner recommends that all people over age 65 get an annual flu shot as well as a pneumococcal vaccine. This one-time shot protects against the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
Caregivers and other family members should also be vaccinated to avoid getting sick themselves and passing the illness to their loved ones. The CDC recommends that anyone who has prolonged contact with an elderly person should get vaccinated, urges Dr. Schaffner.
In addition to staying current with vaccines, a healthy lifestyle plays a critical role in preventing pneumonia. Quitting smoking, practicing good oral hygiene, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritious diet can all help boost a seniors immune system and stave off diseases. Of course, good hand-washing habits are another strong defense.
It is important for family caregivers to educate themselves on pneumonia and other medical conditions that commonly affect seniors. This information will give you added peace of mind that you are doing as much as you can to keep your loved one healthy.
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
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How Do You Get Pneumonia
You may get pneumonia:
- After you breathe infected air particles into your lungs.
- After you breathe certain bacteria from your nose and throat into your lungs.
- During or after a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or influenza .
- As a complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox.
- If you breathe large amounts of food, gastric juices from the stomach, or vomit into the lungs . This can happen when you have had a medical condition that affects your ability to swallow, such as a seizure or a stroke.
A healthy personâs nose and throat often contain bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can develop when these organisms spread to your lungs while your lungs are more likely to be infected. Examples of times when this can happen are during or soon after a cold or if you have a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work or when you are in a hospital or nursing home . Treatment may differ in healthcare-associated pneumonia, because bacteria causing the infection in hospitals may be different from those causing it in the community. This topic focuses on community-associated pneumonia.
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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
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