What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:
Bluish color to lips and fingernails
Confused mental state or delirium, especially in older people
Cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus
Mycoplasma pneumonia has somewhat different symptoms, which include a severe cough that may produce mucus.
Other Viral Pneumonia Causes
Viral pneumonia can be caused by influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus , and herpes or varicella viruses as well as those that cause the common cold .
Depending on which virus is involved, the symptoms, severity, and treatment vary.
- Influenza A and B usually occur in the winter and spring. In addition to the respiratory symptoms, you can get headache, fever, and muscle aches. Your chance of catching the flu decreases significantly if you get immunized every year.
- Respiratory syncytial virus is most common in the spring. It usually infects children and can cause outbreaks in day-care centers and hospital nurseries.
- Herpes, or varicella, pneumonia is rare unless you are infected with chickenpox. This tends to be a more common complication in adults who get chickenpox.
- Adenovirus and parainfluenza viral pneumonias are often accompanied by cold symptoms such as runny nose and pinkeye .
Covid Pneumonia: How Long Does Recovery Take
You’re likely familiar with the common, mild symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, dry cough and fatigue.
But, in more severe cases, COVID-19 can also cause serious complications, including pneumonia.
“We still have a lot to learn about COVID-19, particularly about the havoc it can wreak on the lungs and the pneumonia it causes, which is often now called COVID pneumonia,” says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
That being said, there’s still plenty that experts like Dr. Lee do know about COVID pneumonia, including about how long it can take to fully recover from it.
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Cover Your Mouth And Nose
While the preferred method for covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is into a tissue, not everyone can get to tissues in time when the urge to cough or sneeze hits. If you have the urge to cough or sneezeand a tissue isnt availablethe next best thing is to cover your mouth or nose with the inside of your elbow.
Coughing or sneezing into your elbow will decrease the chances of your leaving traces of your infection on door handles, faucets, or anything else you touch.
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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Transmission And Infection Control Measures In Healthcare Settings
Nosocomial acquisition of viral RTI is not uncommon and possibly underestimated it can have grave impacts on patient outcomes and health-related costs. Many outbreaks have been reported with widespread infection in hospital settings for nearly all respiratory viruses. Strict implementation of infection control measures is very important to prevent spread of infection particularly at times of outbreaks and among immunocompromised patients. We will summarize the infection control practices advised by the CDC and the Health Care Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee . These practices vary widely among different institutions.
For HCWs with signs of respiratory illness, run rapid diagnostics and restrict from caring for high-risk patients. Educate staff and symptomatic patients about respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette. HICPAC recommends empiric contact plus droplet isolation precautions for respiratory illness on presentation before diagnosis and for patients presenting with possible pneumonia and a recent travel history to countries with active outbreaks of novel respiratory infections airborne, contact precautions plus eye protection.
Another infection control measure is to place patients with viral respiratory infections in single rooms, when available, or to cohort them.
Peppermint Eucalyptus And Fenugreek Tea
Many warm herbal teas can help soothe a scratchy throat, but herbs may be more beneficial.
A 2011 study found that herbs, including peppermint and eucalyptus, had a soothing effect on the throats of people with upper respiratory tract infections. These herbs may help break up mucus and ease the pain and inflammation caused by pneumonia.
A review from 2018 notes that fenugreek seeds might help break down mucus. A tea made from ground fenugreek seeds may therefore ease a persistent cough.
Eucalyptus and tea tree oils may also help relieve coughs. People can use these in a diffuser. However, they should try limiting their exposure at first, to ensure that the use of oils does not worsen their symptoms.
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How Can I Manage My Symptoms
- Rest as needed. Rest often while you recover. Slowly start to do more each day.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids help thin your mucus, which may make it easier for you to cough it up.
- Do not smoke. Avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking makes it harder for you to get better. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Use a cool mist humidifier. A humidifier will help increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough.
- Keep your head elevated. You may be able to breathe better if you lie down with the head of your bed up.
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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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.
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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How Long Does It Last
It takes a certain amount of time to start to feel sick after getting exposed to a germ. This length of time is called the incubation period, and it depends on many things, especially which bug is causing the illness.
With influenza pneumonia, for example, someone may become sick as soon as 12 hours or as long as 3 days after exposure to the flu virus. But with walking pneumonia, a person may not feel it until 2 to 3 weeks after becoming infected.
Most types of pneumonia clear up within a week or two, although a cough can linger for several weeks more. In severe cases, it may take longer to completely recover.
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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Dos And Donts In Managing Viral Pneumonia:
- DO tell your health care provider about all your medical problems.
- DO tell your health care provider about medicines you take, prescription and over-the-counter.
- DO call your health care provider if youre getting worse or dont feel better after 2 to 3 days.
- DO tell your health care provider if youre pregnant.
- DO call your health care provider right away or go to the emergency room if shortness of breath gets worse.
- DO try to cough up as much phlegm as possible.
- DO put an air humidifier in your room so you can breathe moist air, which helps get rid of phlegm.
- DO drink plenty of fluids so you dont get dehydrated.
- DO use acetaminophen or aspirin for fever and pain.
- DO call your health care provider if you think that you have pneumonia because you have fever, too much sputum, increased shortness of breath, or chest pain.
- DO call your health care provider if you have duskycolored skin, lips, or fingernails.
- DO call your health care provider if nausea or vomiting stops you from taking your medicines.
- DO call your health care provider if you get dehydrated because of vomiting or diarrhea.
- DONT stop taking your medicine just because you feel better, unless your health care provider tells you to.
- DONT smoke.
- DONT drink alcohol in excess.
How To Avoid Any Type Of Pneumonia
Good hygiene and health practices will help you from contracting most infections, Turner says.
You probably already know the drill here: Wash your hands frequently, avoid sneezers and their trail of tissues, and clean frequently touched surfaceselevator buttons, handles, doorknobswhere germs can linger.
And keep your immune system strong with a nutritious diet, lots of water, and adequate sleep, Turner adds.
Vaccines are also a powerful preventive measure. Get the flu vaccine annuallyinfluenza on its own is unpleasant, but it can also lead to pneumonia. Get the pneumococcal vaccine if you are 65 years or older, Turner advises the vaccine, which protects against bacterial pneumonia, is also recommended for cigarette smokers and younger people with certain medical conditions.
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A Lukewarm Bath Or Compress
Soaking the body in lukewarm water may help cool it down.
If it is not possible to take a bath, apply towels or washcloths to the body after dunking them in lukewarm water and wringing them out. This may help the body cool. When the towels warm up, dip them in the water again and reapply.
Chills are often a secondary symptom of a fever. The following home remedies may help ease chills:
When To See A Doctor
Anyone who has difficulty breathing should seek medical help for diagnosis and treatment.
It is essential to follow any medical treatment plan that the doctor recommends and request additional help if the symptoms worsen or do not improve after a few days.
A doctor can also advise on some ways to prevent pneumonia from developing again.
It is not always possible to prevent pneumonia, but some lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of developing it or experiencing severe symptoms.
- avoiding air pollution, if possible
- managing stress levels and getting enough sleep
- practicing good hand-washing to reduce the risk of infection
- following any instructions the doctor recommends for staying healthy
In the case of COVID-19, experts advise physical distancing from other people to prevent the spread of the virus.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help strengthen the body to fight off infections, including those that lead to pneumonia.
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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.
Antibioticsor Wait It Out
Along with a physical exam, your doctor may take a sputum culture, chest X-ray, and blood work to determine if you have a viral or bacterial form of pneumonia, Turner says.
Your diagnosis is important since it helps determine treatment. If you have viral pneumonia, I wouldnt prescribe to you an antibiotic, says Dr. Brown.
Thats for three important reasons. First, antibiotics simply dont work to treat viruses. And, they can lead to unpleasant side effects . Finally, unnecessary use of antibiotics means that they might not be effective when you do actually need them for treatment, says Dr. Brown. We always strive to give the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, she notes.
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How Is Pneumonia Treated
When you get a pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.
Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic. It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
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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What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is a mild case of pneumonia. It is often caused by a virus or the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. When you have walking pneumonia, your symptoms may not be as severe or last as long as someone who has a more serious case of pneumonia. You probably wont need bed rest or to stay in the hospital when you have walking pneumonia.
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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