Thursday, September 29, 2022

Do You Need Antibiotics For Pneumonia

Medical History And Physical Exam

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Your doctor will ask about your signs and symptoms and when they began. Your doctor will also ask whether you have any risk factors for pneumonia. Your doctor also may ask about:

  • Exposure to sick people at home, school, or work or in a hospital
  • Flu or pneumonia vaccinations
  • Exposure to birds and other animals
  • Smoking

During your physical exam, your doctor will check your temperature and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope.

How Is Pneumonia Treated

Pneumonia can be serious so its important to get treatment quickly. The main treatment for pneumonia is antibiotics, along with rest and drinking plenty of water. If you have chest pain, you can take pain killers such as paracetamol.

Treatment depends on how severe your pneumonia is. Treatment with antibiotics should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis. If youre admitted to hospital, this should be within 4 hours of admission.

Talk With Your Doctor If You Develop Any Side Effects Or Allergic Reactions While Taking An Antibiotic

In children, reactions from antibiotics are the most common cause of medication-related emergency department visits.

Common side effects range from minor to very severe health problems and can include:

  • Rash

More serious side effects can include:

  • C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death
  • Severe and life-threatening allergic reactions
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections

If you need antibiotics, the benefits usually outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.

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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.

Take Steps To Help Your Body Recover

COVID

The following steps can help your body recover from pneumonia.

  • Choose heart-healthy foods, because good nutrition helps your body recover.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help you stay hydrated.
  • Dont drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Alcohol and illegal drugs weaken your immune system and can raise the risk of complications from pneumonia.
  • Dont smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Breathing in smoke can worsen your pneumonia. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. For free help quitting smoking, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
  • Get plenty of sleep. Good quality sleep can help your body rest and improve the response of your immune system. For more information on sleep, visit our How Sleep Works health topic.
  • Get light physical activity. Moving around can help you regain your strength and improve your recovery. However, you may still feel short of breath, and activity that is too strenuous may make you dizzy. Talk to your doctor about how much activity is right for you.
  • Sit upright to help you feel more comfortable and breathe more easily.
  • Take a couple of deep breaths several times a day.

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In Older Adults And Children

Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms, such as having no fever or having a cough with no mucus . The major sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how clearly they think or when a lung disease they already have gets worse.

In children, symptoms may depend on age:

  • In infants younger than 1 month of age, symptoms may include having little or no energy , feeding poorly, grunting, or having a fever.
  • In children, symptoms of pneumonia are often the same as in adults. Your doctor will look for signs such as a cough and a faster breathing rate.

Some conditions with symptoms similar to pneumonia include bronchitis, COPD, and tuberculosis.

Questions To Bring Up At Your Doctors Visit

Its normal to have questions about antibiotics, so dont hesitate to ask your doctor!

Antibiotics arent completely risk-free, so youll want to make sure you understand why youre taking them and how to take them safely if your doctor prescribes them. Consider asking these questions:

  • How does this antibiotic treat my infection?

  • What should I do if I dont start feeling better even after Ive finished my antibiotics?

  • What kinds of side effects should I expect?

  • How long will it take for the antibiotics to work?

  • Could this antibiotic interact with any medications or supplements Im taking already?

  • How will I know if Im allergic to this antibiotic?

Between your doctors expert advice and these tips on how to take antibiotics, you should be well-prepared for a safe course of treatment.

If your doctor doesnt prescribe antibiotics, it doesnt mean you wont get better. Answers to these questions may help you understand how you can manage your infection without antibiotics:

  • Why wont antibiotics treat this infection?

  • How can I manage the symptoms of this infection without antibiotics?

  • What should I do if I dont start feeling better soon?

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Follow Your Treatment Plan

It is important that you take all your medicines as your doctor prescribes. If you are using antibiotics, continue to take the medicine until it is all gone. You may start to feel better before you finish the medicine, but you should continue to take it. If you stop too soon, the bacterial infection and your pneumonia may come back. It may also become resistant to the antibiotic, making treatment more difficult.

How Can I Help Myself Feel Better

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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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When Should You See A Doctor

If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease you should ask your doctor for advice. They may have given you recommendations about increasing your inhaler medication or taking a ‘rescue pack’ of antibiotics and steroid tablets at the first sign of an infection. If not, speak with them for advice if you develop symptoms of a chest infection.

There are a number of symptoms that mean you should see a GP even if you do not have any other lung problems. They include:

  • If a fever, wheezing or headache becomes worse or severe.
  • If you develop fast breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pains.
  • If you cough up blood or if your phlegm becomes dark or rusty-coloured.
  • If you become drowsy or confused.
  • If a cough lasts for longer than 3-4 weeks.
  • If you have repeated bouts of acute bronchitis.
  • If any other symptom develops that you are concerned about.

What To Think About

In most cases pneumonia is a short-term, treatable illness. But frequent bouts of pneumonia can be a serious complication of a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . If you have a severe long-term illness, it may be hard to treat your pneumonia, or you may choose not to treat it. You and your doctor should discuss this. This discussion may include information about how to create an advance care plan.

For more information, see:

There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent getting pneumonia.

  • Stop smoking. You’re more likely to get pneumonia if you smoke.
  • Avoid people who have infections that sometimes lead to pneumonia.
  • Stay away from people who have colds, the flu, or other respiratory tract infections.
  • If you haven’t had measles or chickenpox or if you didn’t get vaccines against these diseases, avoid people who have them.
  • Wash your hands often. This helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that may cause pneumonia.
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    How Is Walking Pneumonia Diagnosed

    Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, how long youve had them and if any other family members or people you regularly interact with are also ill with similar symptoms. He or she will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal breath sounds. Your doctor may order chest X-rays to see if there is an infection in your lungs. Your blood or mucus might be tested to determine if your pneumonia is caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, another bacteria, virus or fungus.

    How Your Doctor Chooses

    Ask Well: Taking All Your Antibiotics

    Your doctor will select the right antibiotic for you based on multiple factors, including:

    • Your age: People 65 and older have a greater risk of serious complications from pneumonia infections.
    • Your health history: A history of smoking, lung diseases, or other conditions may influence a person’s ability to fight off infections.
    • The exact infection you have: Your doctor may take a sample and test it for bacteria. They can then pick an antibiotic based on your specific infection.
    • Your previous experiences with antibiotics: Make sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, had bad reactions to antibiotics in the past, or have developed an antibacterial-resistant infection.
    • The antibiotic sensitivity of the bacteria: The lab will test the bacteria causing your pneumonia to determine which antibiotics it is sensitive or resistant to.

    Doctors typically choose your antibiotics prescription based on what medicines they think will be most effective and cause the fewest side effects.

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    Things You Should Know About Pneumonia

    Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus, which makes it harder to breathe. The most common symptoms are cough that may be dry or produce phlegm, fever, chills and fatigue. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the chest. and shortness of breath. Signs that indicate a more severe infection are shortness of breath, confusion, decreased urination and lightheadedness. In the U.S., pneumonia accounts for 1.3 visits to the Emergency Department, and 50,000 deaths annually.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect people around the world, pneumonia has become an even larger health concern. Some people infected with the COVID-19 have no symptoms, while others may experience fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell.

    The more severe symptoms of COV-19, such as high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, usually mean significant lung involvement. The lungs can be damaged by overwhelming COVID-19 viral infection, severe inflammation, and/or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. COVID-19 can lead to long lasting lung damage.

    Here are other important facts you should know about pneumonia:,

    Complications Caused By Pneumonia

    Pneumonia can sometimes have complications. They include:

    • pleurisy where the pleura, the thin linings between your lungs and ribcage, become inflamed, leading to chest pain. If you have pleurisy, you are more likely to develop fluid on the lungs.
    • fluid on the lungs – about 1 in 10 people with pneumonia develop fluid around the lung, called a pleural effusion which can become infected. This may require a sample of the fluid to be taken by inserting a needle between the ribs under local anaesthetic, and if infected is likely to need a longer course of antibiotics. Occasionally, a tube is inserted into the lung to remove fluid as well.
    • a lung abscess a rare complication thats mostly seen in people with a serious pre-existing illness or history of alcohol misuse.
    • blood poisoning, also called septicaemia – this is where infection spreads from the lungs to the blood stream. This can cause low blood pressure and a severe illness that might need intensive care treatment.
    • respiratory failure this is where pneumonia causes low levels of oxygen in the blood even in people given oxygen. This might also require intensive care treatment.

    The vast majority of people recover from pneumonia and return to good health. However, pneumonia can be very serious and some people with severe pneumonia dont survive, despite the best available care. Those who are elderly or have other health problems are most at risk of severe or fatal pneumonia.

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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 increases your risk for pneumonia. Smoking also makes it harder for you to get better after you have had pneumonia. 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 to 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.

    Take Antibiotics Exactly As Prescribed If You Need Them

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    Dispose of Unused Medicines

    If your doctor decides an antibiotic is the best treatment when youre sick:

    • Take them exactly as your doctor tells you.
    • Do not share your antibiotics with others.
    • Do not save them for later. Talk to your pharmacist about safely discarding leftover medicines.
    • Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. This may delay the best treatment for you, make you even sicker, or cause side effects.

    Talk with your doctor and pharmacist if you have any questions about your antibiotics.

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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults

    Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.

    Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:

    • High fever
    • Tiredness

    Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:

    • Higher fever
    • Shortness of breath

    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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    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.

    What Are The Best Antibiotics For Pneumonia

    Antibiotic would be effective against which of these infections ...

    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.

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