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 person’s 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.
Is There A Vaccine For Pneumonia
There isnt a vaccine for all types of pneumonia, but 2 vaccines are available. These help prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The first is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. The second is recommended for anyone age 2 or older who is at increased risk for pneumonia. Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:
- Are 65 years of age or older.
- Have certain chronic conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis.
- Have a weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged or removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or receiving chemotherapy.
- Have cochlear implants .
The pneumococcal vaccines cant prevent all cases of pneumonia. But they can make it less likely that people who are at risk will experience the severe, and possibly life-threatening, complications of pneumonia.
Antivirals For Treating The Flu
Even though antibiotics arent effective against the flu, there are antiviral medications that your doctor can prescribe within a certain time frame.
If these drugs are started within two days of developing flu symptoms, they can help to make your symptoms less severe or shorten the duration of your illness.
Antiviral drugs that are available to treat flu include:
Theres also a new medication called baloxavir marboxil . This antiviral drug was created by a Japanese pharmaceutical company, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2018, and is now available to treat people 12 years or older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 48 hours.
Some antiviral drugs, including oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir, work by preventing the virus from being properly released from an infected cell. This inhibition prevents newly formed virus particles from going along the respiratory tract to infect healthy cells.
The newly approved medication above, Xofluza, works by reducing the virus ability to replicate. But theyre arent usually necessary to get over the flu, and they dont kill the influenza virus.
Its not an antiviral medication like those noted above, but the seasonal flu vaccine is available every year and is the best way to prevent becoming ill with the flu.
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.
Steroids Aid Recovery From Pneumonia Researchers Say
- UT Southwestern Medical Center
- Adding corticosteroids to traditional antimicrobial therapy might help people with pneumonia recover more quickly than with antibiotics alone, scientists have found.
Adding corticosteroids to traditional antimicrobial therapy might help people with pneumonia recover more quickly than with antibiotics alone, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found.
Unlike the anabolic steroids used to bulk up muscle, corticosteroids are often used to treat inflammation related to infectious diseases, such as bacterial meningitis. Used against other infectious diseases, however, steroid therapy has been shown to be ineffective or even harmful.
In a study available online and in a future issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers at UT Southwestern show that mice infected with a type of severe bacterial pneumonia and subsequently treated with steroids and antibiotics recovered faster and had far less inflammation in their lungs than mice treated with antibiotics alone.
“Some people might think that if you give steroids, it would counteract the effect of the antibiotic,” said Dr. Robert Hardy, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics and the study’s senior author. “But it turns out you need the antibiotic to kill the bug and the steroid to make the inflammation in the lung from the infection get better. The steroids don’t kill the bugs, but they do help restore health.”
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What To Expect At Home
You will still have symptoms of pneumonia after you leave the hospital.
- Your cough will slowly get better over 7 to 14 days.
- Sleeping and eating may take up to a week to return to normal.
- Your energy level may take 2 weeks or more to return to normal.
You will need to take time off work. For a while, you might not be able to do other things that you are used to doing.
Who Should Get Pneumococcal Vaccines
CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.
Talk to your or your childs doctor about what is best for your specific situation.
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Will My Child Need To Go To Hospital
Your doctor will assess if you child should be looked after in hospital based on their symptoms and other factors, including their age. Babies under 6 months old are more likely to be admitted to hospital.
Your doctor will take into account if your child:
- has difficulty breathing
- is dehydrated because they wont feed or drink
- cant take antibiotics through their mouth
- is breathing very fast
- has low oxygen levels in their blood
- is not responding to the prescribed antibiotics
- has another lung, heart or immune deficiency condition
In hospital your child may be given antibiotics through a drip. If they need it, they may be given oxygen to help them breathe more easily. If they are dehydrated, they may also be given fluids through a drip.
Where Can I Find These Vaccines
Your doctors office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.
PCV13 is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, it is regularly available for children at:
- Pediatric and family practice offices
- Community health clinics
If your doctor does not have pneumococcal vaccines for adults, ask for a referral.
Pneumococcal vaccines may also be available for adults at:
- Health departments
- Other community locations, such as schools and religious centers
Federally funded health centers can also provide services if you do not have a regular source of health care. Locate one near youexternal icon. You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get pneumococcal vaccines in your community.
When receiving any vaccine, ask the provider to record the vaccine in the state or local registry, if available. This helps doctors at future encounters know what vaccines you or your child have already received.
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When To See A Doctor
If you have been sick with what seems like a cold or the flu without improvement for 5-7 days, check in with your doctor.
This could be a sign that you have pneumonia or have developed a secondary infection.
If you have a compromised immune system, are over age 65, or have other medical problems, call your doctor sooner.
Children who have symptoms of pneumonia should be seen by their pediatrician right away, since they may not display common signs of pneumonia, even if they are very ill.
Problems That Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine
- People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you or your child:
- Feel dizzy
- Have vision changes
- Have ringing in the ears
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How Long Youll Take Them
A course of antibiotics for uncomplicated pneumonia treatment is usually for five to seven days. One course will usually be enough to cure your pneumonia. In some cases, you may need more than one course of antibiotics if your infection doesnt start improving or it seems like its not responding to the medications.
Stay in touch with your doctor to ensure your infection is clearing up. Youll likely start to feel better and have some symptom relief one to three days after you start your pneumonia treatment, but it may take a week or more for your symptoms to go away completely.
Taking your medication as prescribed, especially for antibiotics, is incredibly important. Even if youre feeling better, you need to take the entire course.
Do not stop taking antibiotics early, even if your symptoms improve, as the infection would not be fully treated and could become antibiotic-resistant. This will make treatment more complicated. If youre experiencing side effects, talk to your doctor. Only stop your medication if your doctor tells you its OK to do so.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Community
M. NAWAL LUTFIYYA, PH.D., ERIC HENLEY, M.D., M.P.H., and LINDA F. CHANG, PHARM.D., M.P.H., B.C.P.S., University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, Rockford, Illinois
STEPHANIE WESSEL REYBURN, M.D., M.P.H., Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, Minnesota
Am Fam Physician. 2006 Feb 1 73:442-450.
Patients with community-acquired pneumonia often present with cough, fever, chills, fatigue, dyspnea, rigors, and pleuritic chest pain. When a patient presents with suspected community-acquired pneumonia, the physician should first assess the need for hospitalization using a mortality prediction tool, such as the Pneumonia Severity Index, combined with clinical judgment. Consensus guidelines from several organizations recommend empiric therapy with macrolides, fluoroquinolones, or doxycycline. Patients who are hospitalized should be switched from parenteral antibiotics to oral antibiotics after their symptoms improve, they are afebrile, and they are able to tolerate oral medications. Clinical pathways are important tools to improve care and maximize cost-effectiveness in hospitalized patients.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Patients with suspected community-acquired pneumonia should receive chest radiography.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Patients with suspected community-acquired pneumonia should receive chest radiography.
Overview of Community-Acquired Pneumonia
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How Can Walking Pneumonia Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no vaccines are available to prevent walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Even if you have recovered from walking pneumonia, you will not become immune, so it is possible to become infected again in the future.
Tips for preventing walking pneumonia include:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If a tissue isnt available, sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow or sleeve. Never sneeze or cough into your hands. Place used tissues into a waste basket.
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Wear a mask around sick people if you have respiratory conditions or other chronic health conditions that would make getting pneumonia even riskier for you.
- Get your annual Influenza shot. Bacterial pneumonia can develop after a case of the flu.
- Ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine. Two types of vaccines are available, Prevnar 13® and Pneumovax 23®. Each vaccine is recommended for people at different age points or who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia.
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
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Is Walking Pneumonia Contagious If So How Is It Spread And Who Is Most At Risk
Yes, walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae is contagious . When an infected person coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets containing the bacteria become airborne and can be inhaled by others who are nearby.
The infection can be easily spread in crowded or shared living spaces such as homes, schools, dormitories and nursing homes. It tends to affect younger adults and school-aged children more than older adults.
The risk of getting more severe pneumonia is even higher among those who have existing respiratory conditions such as:
The symptoms of walking pneumonia may come on slowly, beginning one to four weeks after exposure. During the later stages of the illness, symptoms may worsen, the fever may become higher, and coughing may bring up discolored phlegm .
Cough And Cold Medicines
Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.
Always check to see if any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines you are taking contain acetaminophen. If they do, make sure the acetaminophen you are taking in your cold medicine plus any other acetaminophen you may be taking is not higher than the daily recommended dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much you can take every day.
Antimicrobial Therapy And Special Considerations
Clinical strategy emphasizes prompt and appropriate empiric antimicrobial therapy for patients with suspected HAP.1 There is consistent evidence that a delay in the initiation of appropriate antibiotic therapy for patients with HAP is associated with increased mortality.1 The selection of initial antibiotic therapy is based on risk factors for specific pathogens, modified by knowledge of local patterns of antibiotic resistance and organism prevalence.1 Therapy is then modified on the basis of clinical response on days 2 and 3 of an empiric antibiotic regimen and the findings of cultures of lower respiratory tract secretions.1 The key decision in initial empiric antimicrobial therapy is whether the patient has risk factors for MDROs and the timing of onset of HAP .1
How Is Fungal Pneumonia Treated
If the course of the pneumonia is slow and your chest X-ray looks unusual, you may have fungal pneumonia. These conditions can be diagnosed with a blood test that shows your body is making antibodies to the fungus.
More than 10 types of fungi can cause fungal pneumonia, which is more common in people with weakened immune systems.
Several antifungal drugs serve as treatment for pneumonia and can be administered either orally or intravenously.
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What Are The Best Antibiotics For Pneumonia
When a person contracts pneumonia, the air sacs in one or both lungs, called alveoli, fill with pus or fluid.
This fluid can make it difficult to breathe. While pneumonia can be mild, it can also cause severe illness, especially in young children, older adults, and those with other medical problems.
In 2019, more than 40,000 Americans died of pneumonia.
Pneumonia happnes when a virus or bacteria thats living in your bodyin your nose, sinuses, or mouth, for examplespreads into your lungs.
You may also directly breathe the virus or bacteria into your lungs, triggering pneumonia.
Pneumonia is typically caused by viruses or bacteria.
Antibiotics wont help with viral pneumonia.
Bacterial pneumonia is more common, and usually more severe, and can sometimes occur secondary to a viral infection.
If your doctor suspects that you have bacterial pneumonia, they will treat you with antibiotics.
In this article, Ill explain how pneumonia is diagnosed, and when and how its treated with antibiotics.
Ill also talk about when pneumonia requires hospitalization.
Ill also tell you when you should talk to your doctor to see if a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or other upper respiratory symptoms could be pneumonia.