Monday, September 26, 2022

How Do You Know If You Are Getting Pneumonia

How The Infection May Be Treated In Or Out Of The Hospital

How do I know if I have pneumonia?

Pneumonia can worsen quickly, so its important to seek medical care right away if you develop any of the symptoms above, Bregier says.

Treatment depends on whats causing your pneumonia. If its bacterial, your doctor will give you antibiotics, either by mouth or intravenously. If its viral, options are more limited, but your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, a bronchial dilator to help get air in and out or a medication to break up the mucus. COVID-19 pneumonia is also treated with steroids and monoclonal antibodies.

If your case is particularly severe, you may need to be hospitalized so you can receive oxygen treatment and other support.

Doctors say if youre older and more at risk, your best bet is to take precautions so you dont get sick in the first place. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in indoor or crowded spaces and most important get all recommended vaccines.

Vaccines prevent you from getting sick or lessen the severity of it if you do, Sahetya says. The best defense is a good offense.

Michelle Crouch is a contributing writer who has covered health and personal finance for some of the nation’s top consumer publications. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Prevention, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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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

When To Call The Doctor

You should call your childs doctor if your child:

  • Has trouble breathing or is breathing much faster than usual
  • Has a bluish or gray color to the fingernails or lips
  • Is older than 6 months and has a fever over 102°F
  • Is younger than 6 months and has a temperature over 100.4°F.
  • Has a fever for more than a few days after taking antibiotics

When your child should stay home and return to school or childcare

Recommended Reading: Pneumonia Vaccine For Adults Over 50

Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided

There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:

People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • asthma
  • sickle cell disease

You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:

  • Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
  • Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
  • Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.

Causes And Risk Factors Of Pneumonia

I had Pneumonia And this was the fluid that was taken from ...

How do you get pneumonia? The majority of the germs that cause infection are spread from person to person through droplets, from coughing or sneezing.

People who smoke are at higher risk for pneumonia, as are people on immunosuppressive medications, and people who are frequently in close, crowded spaces with others, such as college students and military personnel.

Recommended Reading: What Can Pneumonia Lead To

Pneumonia Symptoms In Elders

Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs. There can be swelling or fluid in the air sacs. This can cause trouble with breathing as well as affect energy levels and overall health.

If your loved one is sick, the signs of pneumonia include:

  • Cough. Look out for a cough that does not clear up. Some types of pneumonia lead to mucus build-up in the lungs. This can cause one to cough up a greenish, yellow or even bloody substance.
  • Fever . Most people with pneumonia will have a fever. However, it is not unusual for people over 65 and a weak immune system to have a cooler body temperature instead of a fever.
  • Chest pain. The infection in the lungs can cause pain when breathing or coughing. This can feel like a sharp stabbing pain in the chest with deep breathing or coughing.
  • Fatigue. Fighting off an infection saps the body of energy. Your loved one may feel exhausted and depleted.
  • Confusion. Exhaustion and infection can lead to temporary confusion and slips in mental awareness. This is often seen in the elderly.
  • Shortness of breath. The air sacs in the lungs can fill with fluid or pus. This causes a cough but also difficulty breathing. You will especially notice this when your loved one needs to move quickly. For example, trying to rush to answer the phone or climbing stairs.
  • 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

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    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.

    More Severe Cases May Also Cause:

    What doctors want you to know about avoiding pneumonia
    • 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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    What Should I Do If I Cant Get A Covid Test

    The rapid increase in demand has made testing more challenging. If possible, check different testing sites and try to be flexible in terms of when and where you are willing to go, Blumberg recommended.

    If youre seeking a test, please seek options other than the Emergency Department . UC Davis Medical Centers ED has seen a record number of patients recently, and providers need to care for those who are seriously ill. The ED is not the best fit for someone with no symptoms or mild symptoms.

    If you have COVID-19 symptoms, it is better to err on the side of caution and quarantine until you can get tested, advised Brad Pollock, professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. If you have symptoms, the rapid antigen at-home tests are also useful to determine whether youre infectious. Even better, use rapid tests on two consecutive days to reduce the chance of transmitting the infection to others.

    Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 tests available.

    What Is The Recovery Time For Covid Pneumonia

    Dr. Lee: Regardless of what causes it, regaining strength after pneumonia can take quite a long time from several weeks to many months.

    During COVID pneumonia recovery, your body first has to repair the damage caused to the lungs then it has to deal with clearing leftover fluid and debris and, finally, scarring until the tissue is fully healed over all of which come with unpleasant symptoms.

    For the 15% of infected individuals who develop moderate to severe COVID-19 and are admitted to the hospital for a few days and require oxygen, the average recovery time ranges between three to six weeks.

    For the 5% who develop severe or critical illness, recovery can take much longer.

    Everyone’s recovery is unique and depends on:

    • Your overall health
    • Whether you have preexisting conditions
    • The severity of your infection

    If you are recovering from COVID pneumonia and experiencing persistent problems, I recommend seeing your doctor for a follow-up evaluation. If your recovery is prolonged, he or she may recommend a specialized program, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, to help get you back on track.

    In some cases, patients will have lingering symptoms after the initial COVID-19 infection, often called post-COVID syndrome. These “long haulers” can have variety of problems, since the virus can attack not only the lungs, but also the heart, kidneys and brain. Your doctor can also help you manage these lingering symptoms.

    Next Steps:

    Also Check: Do I Need To Get A Pneumonia Shot Every Year

    Bronchitis Vs Pneumonia: Why Theyre Related And How Theyre Different

    A pneumonia diagnosis is based on your medical history, a physical exam, and certain test results. Your doctor determines which type of pneumonia you have based on how you became infected, what your X-ray or lung exam reveals, and which kind of germ is responsible for your infection.

    During a physical exam, your doctor will check your vital signs and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. Decreased breath sounds is an indication of a lot of inflammation, says Michelle Barron, MD, a professor in the division of infectious diseases at University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

    If your doctor suspects pneumonia, they may order further diagnostic tests, such as a chest X-ray to help determine the extent of the infection. Blood tests and an analysis of the patients sputum can pinpoint whats causing the pneumonia. Pulse oximetry measures the oxygen level in your blood .

    Things You Should Know About Pneumonia

    Acute respiratory distress syndrome: What you need to know

    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:,

    Recommended Reading: What Is The New Pneumonia Shot Called

    How To Prevent Pneumonia

    The best way to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia are lifestyle changes, including being a non-smoker. This is because smoking damages the lungs and increases the risk of infection.

    Another tip would be to limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol misuse can weaken the lung’s natural ability to fight against infection.

    Anyone at high risk of getting pneumonia are also advised to get the flu vaccine. You can also get the Covid vaccines, including the booster to prevent yourself from developing pneumonia as a side effect of Covid.

    Read More

    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

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    How To Treat Pneumonia In Seniors

    Pneumonia can often be treated at home. The goal is to rid your body of the infection while preventing more serious complications. Pneumonia affects the lungs and breathing. This makes it vital to ensure that the body is getting the oxygen it needs to recover. Following these steps can help to manage the symptoms of fever and cough so that your loved one can recover more quickly:

  • Rest. Your body is able to fight off germs when you get adequate sleep. Encourage your loved one to stay in bed if they are weak or have a fever. While they are recovering, work in regular rest periods. A nap in the afternoon and an early bedtime or sleeping later in the morning is important. Arrange for your loved one to have help with meals and household chores. When you take care of the daily details, your loved one is more able to fully rest.
  • Hydration. Keeping your body well hydrated can prevent the build-up of mucus in the lungs. Provide your loved one with plenty of fluids such as hot tea or water with lemon. These can help to loosen the secretions in their lungs and make it easier to breathe. A warm bath or humidifier can also help open the airways.
  • They have other health conditions
  • Are having trouble breathing
  • The symptoms get worse
  • Recovery from pneumonia can take anywhere from a week to months. You will need to talk to your doctor about when it is appropriate to return to a normal routine.

    An early response to the signs of pneumonia can be your best strategy for a smooth recovery.

    Can I Get Reinfected If Ive Already Had Covid

    What You Need to Know About Pneumonia During Flu Season

    Yes. You can get reinfected after having COVID-19, although it is less common in the first 90 days after infection, explained Blumberg. He noted that the vaccines are not 100% effective and breakthrough infections may occur. However, if youve had COVID-19 and are then vaccinated, this decreases your chance of reinfection by about half.

    Vaccine protection wanes over time, Garcia added. This is something we expected to occur with vaccinated individuals, hence boosters are important, particularly for front line workers and those at higher risk of complications, such as those with diabetes and respiratory illnesses.

    Read Also: How Treat Pneumonia In Elderly

    How Is Omicron Presenting In Vulnerable Populations Such As Senior Citizens And Those With Multiple Underlying Conditions

    Most Omicron infections have occurred in relatively young, healthy people. We still dont know how dangerous it is in people over 65 or those who are immunocompromised, but there is a concern that they may be at higher risk for severe disease, Blumberg said. We urge them to take all available precautions, including vaccination with boosters and masking.

    Omicron is highly transmissible compared to Delta, Garcia noted. The viral load is much higher in Omicron, which means that someone infected with the Omicron variant is more infectious than someone infected with the Delta variant. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems should take special care, she said.

    We all have a personal responsibility to reduce the risk to others, especially the more vulnerable among us. Brad Pollock

    What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia

    People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.

    Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:

    • General decline in quality of life for months or years

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    Favorite Orgs That Can Help Fight Pneumonia

    Those over age 65 have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger adults. They may be especially susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia, spread among large populations of elderly people in settings such as assisted living facilities. This organization, devoted to finding the best products and services for seniors, publishes advice on how older adults should handle prevention and care.

    Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia. Several national healthcare organizations and the CDC are collaborating in an effort called United Against the Flu to stress the importance of getting immunized. The groups website supplies resources and details on the vaccination.

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