How Do You Treat Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the cause. If pneumonia is caused bya bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed to kill the harmfulbacteria. If pneumonia is caused by a viral infection, time and restare best for recovery. Fever reducing medications and cough medicationscan help relieve symptoms and aid sleep.
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.
Pneumonia Symptoms Causes And How To Treat It
Ah, the wintertime. Full of cozy knits, pumpkin spice lattes, and pneumonia.
Pneumonia often develops as a complication of colds and flu, when the germs get into your lungs.
While anyone can get pneumonia, adults older than 65, young children and infants, and people with chronic disease such as COPD and asthma, are at high risk for contracting pneumonia.
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Help Prevent The Spread Of Infections:
- Sneeze and cough into a tissue then throw it away right after use and wash your hands. If you dont have a tissue, sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
- If you have a cold or the flu, stay home from work, school and public places
- Regularly clean common areas of your home
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary depending on your age and what type of pneumonia you have. Symptoms can range from mild to very severe. The most common symptoms of pneumonia:
- Feeling very tired and unwell
- Chest pain
If you have any of these symptoms its important to see your health-care provider right away. Since symptoms can vary depending on your age, see your health-care provider if you notice any health-related changes.
If you have a chronic condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma, you may also notice a worsening of your condition.
Your health-care provider may suspect pneumonia after asking you what symptoms you have and for how long youve had them. A physical exam, including listening to your lungs with a stethoscope for abnormal sounds, can help with the diagnosis.
If your health-care provider suspects you may have pneumonia, the following tests can help confirm the diagnosis:
Your health-care provider may send you for other tests if required.
If you have any regular symptoms, see your health-care provider to be assessed as soon as possible.
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
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How Is Walking Pneumonia Treated
As mentioned earlier, most people have mild symptoms. Usually the immune system fights off the bacteria and you get better even without antibiotics. But if youre feeling sick enough to seek care, most healthcare providers will recommend an antibiotic just to be safe.
Common antibiotics used to treat walking pneumonia are:
Most people start to feel better after a few days of antibiotics. But even with antibiotics, your cough can last as long as 2 to 4 weeks.
Other things you can do to help with symptoms include:
Drinking plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated
Resting and allowing your lungs to recover
Trying over-the-counter cough medication
Using a humidifier or vaporizer at night
Using sinus rinses to help with runny and stuffy nose
Gargling with salt water or using lozenges for sore throat
Medical History And Physical Exam
- 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.
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Antibiotic Treatments For Community
For a more detailed discussion of the different types of antibiotics, see the “Antibiotic Classes” section below.
Joint guidelines issued in 2019 by the IDSA/ATS recommend that mild CAP in otherwise healthy people be treated with amoxicillin or doxycycline. If the person lives in an area with low S pneumoniae resistance to macrolides, a macrolide antibiotic therapy may also be considered.
The British Thoracic Society recommends amoxicillin, doxycycline, or clarithromycin as alternatives.
Many people with heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or other coexisting conditions may still be treated as outpatients.
People with coexisting conditions should be given a macrolide plus a beta-lactam or a fluoroquinolone as monotherapy. Doxycycline can be given as an alternative to a macrolide. Current recommendations call for at least 5 days of antibiotic therapy. People should have no fever for at least 48 hours and no more than one sign of continuing severe illness before discontinuing antibiotics.
Many cases of CAP are caused by S pneumoniae — Gram-positive bacteria that usually respond to antibiotics known as beta-lactams , and to macrolides. However, resistant strains of S pneumoniae are increasingly common. Most resistant strains respond to fluoroquinolones such as levofloxacin , gemifloxacin , or moxifloxacin .
In addition, other important causes of CAP, particularly in younger people, are atypical bacteria, which respond to macrolides , or newer fluoroquinolones.
Pleural Effusion Empyema And Abscess
In pneumonia, a collection of fluid may form in the space that surrounds the lung. Occasionally, microorganisms will infect this fluid, causing an empyema. To distinguish an empyema from the more common simple parapneumonic effusion, the fluid may be collected with a needle , and examined. If this shows evidence of empyema, complete drainage of the fluid is necessary, often requiring a drainage catheter. In severe cases of empyema, surgery may be needed. If the infected fluid is not drained, the infection may persist, because antibiotics do not penetrate well into the pleural cavity. If the fluid is sterile, it must be drained only if it is causing symptoms or remains unresolved.
In rare circumstances, bacteria in the lung will form a pocket of infected fluid called a lung abscess. Lung abscesses can usually be seen with a chest X-ray but frequently require a chest CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. Abscesses typically occur in aspiration pneumonia, and often contain several types of bacteria. Long-term antibiotics are usually adequate to treat a lung abscess, but sometimes the abscess must be drained by a surgeon or radiologist.
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Respiratory And Circulatory Failure
Pneumonia can cause respiratory failure by triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome , which results from a combination of infection and inflammatory response. The lungs quickly fill with fluid and become stiff. This stiffness, combined with severe difficulties extracting oxygen due to the alveolar fluid, may require long periods of mechanical ventilation for survival. Other causes of circulatory failure are hypoxemia, inflammation, and increased coagulability.
is a potential complication of pneumonia but usually occurs in people with poor immunity or hyposplenism. The organisms most commonly involved are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Other causes of the symptoms should be considered such as a myocardial infarction or a pulmonary embolism.
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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Occupational And Regional Pneumonias
Exposure to chemicals can also cause inflammation and pneumonia. Where you work and live can put you at higher risk for exposure to pneumonia-causing organisms.
- Workers exposed to cattle, pigs, sheep, and horses are at risk for pneumonia caused by anthrax, brucella, and Coxiella burnetii .
Inhalation or respiratory anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by inhaling the spores of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Although the spores are dormant when breathed in, they germinate when exposed to a warm, moist environment, such as the lungs. Not all particles are small enough to pass into the alveoli, or air sacs, but those that do begin to multiply and may spread to the lymphatic system. When the spores germinate, several toxins are released. Particles illustrated are not to scale.
- Agricultural and construction workers in the Southwest are at risk for coccidioidomycosis . The disease is caused by the spores of the fungi Coccidioides immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii.
- Those working in Ohio and the Mississippi Valley are at risk for histoplasmosis, a lung disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. This fungus grows well in areas enriched with bird or bat droppings.
What Is A Chest X Ray To R/o Pneumonia
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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.
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
Going To The Hospital
If you have severe pneumonia, you may have to go to the hospital:
- In most cases of pneumonia you get in your daily life, such as at school or work , it is not necessary to go to the hospital.footnote 2
- About one-third of people with community-based pneumonia are age 65 or older.footnote 2 Older adults are treated in the hospital more often and stay longer for the condition than younger people.footnote 2 Pneumonia is more serious in this group, because they often have and may develop other medical problems.
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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
What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better
In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:
- Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
- Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
- Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.
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How Can I Tell The Difference Between A Common Cold And Walking Pneumonia
The symptoms of a common cold and walking pneumonia are the same at the beginning of the illness. But common colds usually start to get better after 3 or 4 days, and symptoms are usually gone by 7 to 10 days.
Some clues that you could have walking pneumonia are:
Your symptoms are not getting better after 3 or 4 days.
Your symptoms get worse at any point in your illness.
Your symptoms are lasting more than 7 to 10 days.
You start feeling chest pain or having trouble breathing/shortness of breath.
If any of these ring true, you should see a healthcare provider to check if you have walking pneumonia.
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.
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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.
Risk Factors For Community
CAP is the most common type of pneumonia. It develops outside of the hospital. Each year 2 to 4 million people in the US develop CAP, and 600,000 are hospitalized. Older people, infants, and young children are at greatest risk for the disease.
Chronic Lung Disease
Chronic obstructive lung disease , which includes long-term bronchitis and emphysema, affects 15 million people in the US. This condition is a major risk factor for pneumonia. Long-term use of corticosteroid inhalers may increase the risk of pneumonia in people with COPD. People with other types of chronic lung diseases, such as bronchiectasis and interstitial lung diseases, are also at increased risk for getting pneumonia and more likely to have complications.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi, the main air passages to the lungs. It generally follows a viral respiratory infection. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and fatigue.
People With Compromised Immune Systems
People with impaired immune systems are extremely susceptible to pneumonia. It is a common problem in people with HIV and AIDS. A wide variety of organisms, including P jiroveci, Myobacterium species, Histoplasma capsulatum, Coccidioides immitis, Aspergillus species, cytomegalovirus, and Toxoplasma gondii, can cause pneumonia.
In addition to AIDS, other conditions that compromise the immune system include:
- Adult and pediatric cancers, such as leukemia and Hodgkin lymphoma
- Organ transplantation