What Is Fungal Pneumonia
Three types of fungi living in soil are known causes of pneumonia:
- Coccidioides immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii are two related fungi common to the American Southwest. Both can cause coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever.
- Histoplasma capsulatum is found in the central and eastern United States, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and causes a disease called histoplasmosis.
- Cryptococcus is a fungi found in soil and bird droppings all across the country.
Most people who inhale these fungi don’t get sick, but if your immune system is weak, you may develop pneumonia.
Another fungus, Pneumocystis jirovecii, can generate an infection in premature, malnourished infants, and in people with a weakened immune system, such as those who have HIV or AIDS.
The symptoms of pneumonia that are caused by fungi are often similar to those of other forms of pneumonia, including a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
But because this type of pneumonia usually affects people with weakened immune systems, symptoms tend to develop faster, and people often experience a high fever.
Choosing The Right Antibiotic
Dozens of antibiotics are available for treating pneumonia, but selecting the best drug is sometimes difficult. People with pneumonia need an antibiotic that is effective against the organism causing the disease. When the organism is unknown, “empiric therapy” is given, meaning the doctor chooses which antibiotic is likely to work based on factors such as the person’s age, health, and severity of the illness.
In adults, the choice of antibiotic therapy depends on the severity of infection and site of care. In all cases, the more quickly antibiotic therapy is started once the diagnosis is made, the better the outcomes. In most cases, the organism causing the pneumonia will not be known before antibiotic therapy is started, so the doctor must choose an antibiotic regimen based on history and symptoms. Later, the therapy may be altered when more information becomes available. To determine the appropriate antibiotic, the doctor must first answer a number of questions:
Once an antibiotic has been chosen, there are still difficulties:
- Individuals respond differently to the same antibiotic, depending on their age, health, size, and other factors.
- People can be allergic to certain antibiotics, thus requiring alternatives.
- People may have strains of bacteria that are resistant to certain antibiotics.
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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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.
When To Get Medical Advice
You dont get better in the first 2 days of treatment
Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Cough with phlegm that doesn’t get better, or get worse
Shortness of breath with activities
Weakness, dizziness, or fainting that gets worse
Thirst or dry mouth that gets worse
Sinus pain, headache, or a stiff neck
Chest pain with breathing or coughing
Symptoms that get worse or not improving
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Drink A Cup Of Coffee
Drinking a cup of coffee may also help relieve shortness of breath. Caffeine may help widen the airways, and a 2021 review even suggested that consuming it could help soothe some COVID-19 symptoms and work against SARS-CoV-2.
Caffeines half-life is 3-5 hours, meaning that your body gets rid of half the caffeine content in this time. If caffeine helps to widen your airways, this is the amount of time its likely to have its most noticeable effects.
Chest pain may come on suddenly or over the course of several days. You should expect some chest pain or ache if you get pneumonia. With treatment, any chest pain typically subsides within 4 weeks.
More Severe Cases May Also Cause:
- quick breathing
- rapid heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
Some people get a sharp pain in their chest when they breathe in and out. This may be because the thin lining between the lung and ribcage, called the pleura, is infected and inflamed. This inflammation, called pleurisy, stops your lungs moving smoothly as you breathe.
The symptoms of pneumonia are often very similar to those of other chest infections, such as bronchitis, COPD flare-ups or bronchiectasis flare-ups. To get a proper diagnosis youll need to visit your GP.
If you feel unwell with these symptoms, see your GP or call 111. If you have chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, quick breathing, shivers or confusion, get urgent advice from your GP or call 999. Take extra care if youre over 65.
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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.
Signs Of Pneumonia In Small Children And Older Adults
If you see signs and symptoms of pneumonia in your small child, it is important to see your doctor right away. Pneumonia is the number one most common reason for children in the United States to be hospitalized, and is the worlds leading cause of death for children under 5 years old. If you have any doubts about whether your young child may have pneumonia, seek medical attention just in case.
Older people are at a higher risk of developing and dying from pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia in older adults may be different than those in their younger counterparts. They may be fewer or less severe,may not include a fever and a cough may not produce mucus. One of the primary symptoms of pneumonia in older folks is confusion or delirium. You may also see a bluish tinge to the lips and fingertips. Those with pre-existing lung conditions may become sicker faster than those with healthier lungs.
If you recognize any of the pneumonia warning signs mentioned above, contact your doctor as soon as possible for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic testing.
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How Is It Treated
Antibiotics are the usual treatment, because the organism may not be found. But if the pneumonia is caused by a virus, antivirals may be given. Sometimes, antibiotics may be used to prevent complications.
Antibiotics usually cure pneumonia caused by bacteria. Be sure to take the antibiotics exactly as instructed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Pneumonia can make you feel very sick. But after you take antibiotics, you should start to feel much better, although you will probably not be back to normal for several weeks. Call your doctor if you do not start to feel better after 2 to 3 days of antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you feel worse.
There are things you can do to feel better during your treatment. Get plenty of rest and sleep, and drink lots of liquids. Do not smoke. If your cough keeps you awake at night, talk to your doctor about using cough medicine.
You may need to go to the hospital if you have bad symptoms, a weak immune system, or another serious illness.
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.
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When To Contact A Doctor
It is important to contact a doctor if a person believes that they or a member of their family is experiencing symptoms of pneumonia. While some people may be able to recover at home without medical assistance, others may need medication or hospitalization.
People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- breathing difficulties
Most Read In Health News
When you have pneumonia, the alveoli – tiny air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged – fill with fluid.
It affects around eight in 1,000 adults a year, and it’s more common in autumn and winter.
While it can severely affect people of any age, it’s more likely and can be more serious among the young or elderly.
While pneumonia symptoms are similar to other illnesses, such as a chest infection – they can develop in as fast as 24 hours.
The infection’s development can also depend on the age of the sufferer.
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Atypical or walking pneumonia is prevalent among school-age children. They may not feel ill enough to demand a day off school, but they could be tired, suffering from headaches, a minor fever or a dry cough.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for up to 20 per cent of adult pneumonia cases.
While it is rare, if you are struggling to shake your Omicron infection and feeling it’s getting worse, pay attention to if you have some of the listed symptoms below.
If you do, don’t worry but call for help and an expert can assess you quickly.
People who develop pneumonia often make a full recovery without any extra complications.
Common symptoms include a dry or phlegm-y cough – and breathing may be rapid and shallow, you may feel breathless all the time, and experience chest pain.
Fever, sweating and shivering, loss of appetite and a rapid heartbeat are all also symptoms.
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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
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When To Go To The Er With Pneumonia
Anyone who is having trouble breathing or other severe symptoms should immediately be taken to the ER. Additionally, people in these groups who are experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms should come to the ER:
- Infants and small children
If you suspect someone in your family has pneumonia, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered.
Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.
At Medical City Healthcare, were dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope youll Take Care!
For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.
You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at CareNow Urgent Care or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.
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.
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Drink A Cup Of Ginger Tea
Ginger has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in recent research . As with turmeric, current research on ginger hasnt looked at whether it helps specifically with chest pain, but its a harmless, hydrating way to try and soothe the uncomfortable effects of pneumonia.
You can find loose or bagged ginger teas at your local grocery or online. Or, you can use raw ginger to make your own ginger tea.
Your fever may develop suddenly or over the course of a few days. With treatment, it should subside within the week.
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 Health Complications Can Pneumonia Lead To
If you have flu-like symptoms that persist or worsen despite treatment, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor can monitor your lungs while you inhale, listening for crackling sounds that are audible only with a stethoscope.
In order to confirm the diagnosis and identify the specific germ causing the illness, you may get a chest X-ray as well as a blood test, depending on your medical history and physical exam, if your doctor suspects that you have pneumonia.
If left untreated, pneumonia can become severe.
People with severe pneumonia experience higher fevers along with GI symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as:
- Difficulty breathing