Thursday, September 29, 2022

How Do You Know If Your Cough Is Pneumonia

How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu

What doctors want you to know about avoiding pneumonia

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.

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

What Is Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults.

Bacterial pneumonia may follow a viral infection, like a cold or the flu . This type of pneumonia usually affects one area of the lung and is referred to as lobar pneumonia.

Types of bacteria that cause pneumonia include:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B

Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in adults, called pneumococcal pneumonia.

It may be prevented by a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two pneumonia vaccines for adults 65 years and older: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or Prevnar 13 , and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or Pneumovax 23 .

According to the CDC:

  • You should receive a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine first, followed at least one year later by a dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine .
  • If you’ve already received any doses of PPSV23, the dose of PCV13 should be given at least one year after the most recent PPSV23 dose.
  • If you’ve already received a dose of the PCV13 at a younger age, another dose is not recommended.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae usually infects younger adults who work in crowded areas, such as schools, homeless shelters, or prisons.

Chlamydophila pneumoniae causes a mild pneumonia infection that usually affects people older than 60.

Other bacterial pneumonia symptoms include:

  • High fever

Read Also: When Can You Get Pneumonia Vaccine

How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better

How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:

  • Your age
  • The cause of your pneumonia
  • The severity of your pneumonia
  • If you have other at-risk conditions

If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.

What Are The Common Causes Of Pneumonia For Older Adults

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Pneumonia is typically caused by bacteria or viruses. These germs are breathed into your lungs. When your immune system is strong you may be able to quickly fight these germs off.

The elderly may be more likely to have the germs cause an infection in their lungs due to weakened immune systems.

Even if they are usually healthy and fit, they can get pneumonia after you have caught a simple cold or flu. They may even catch pneumonia from being in the hospital.

The causes of pneumonia are broken down into three groups:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia. This type of pneumonia is the one you can get from everyday interactions. The pneumonia bacteria or virus from the nose or sinuses can be breathed into your lungs. If you are healthy the bacteria may not affect you but in the elderly, the bacteria can quickly cause pneumonia.
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia. Unfortunately, a stay in the hospital or long-term care facility can make your loved one more likely to catch pneumonia. The bacteria that causes pneumonia may be more severe and resistant to antibiotics. People in the hospital are already sick and have a more difficult time fighting off pneumonia. If your loved one is on a ventilator or in the intensive care unit, talk to your doctor about preventing pneumonia.
  • Free Consultation

    Recommended Reading: Pneumonia Vaccine 65 And Older

    How To Prevent Pneumonia In Dogs

    While there is no sure-fire way to make sure your dog doesn’t get pneumonia, it helps to keep them in top shape. For instance, take them to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, feed them a nutritious diet, and make sure they get plenty of exercise.

    If your dog does get sick with pneumonia, the flu, or any other illness, pet insurance can help you manage the veterinary bills. With pet insurance, you can get help focusing on providing the best care possible for your dog with less worry about how much it will cost. Get started with a personalized quote now.

    The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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    Symptoms And Causes Of Cough

    Most coughs are caused by the common cold, flu or bronchitis. Coughs often come with symptoms like runny nose, fever, sore throat, earache and general aches and pains.

    Smoking can cause you to have a cough. Other causes include heartburn, allergies like hay fever and mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose

    If you have asthma, your cough may be caused by dust, pollens, grasses, cold air or exercise.

    Recommended Reading: How Long Can A Cough Last After Pneumonia

    Who Is Most At Risk For Getting Pneumonia

    People who have an increased risk of pneumonia include:

    • People over the age of 65 and infants under age 2. The weakening immune system of older people makes them less able to fight off illnesses. Similarly, the immune system of infants is still developing and not at full-strength, making them more susceptible to infection.
    • People with a health-caused weakened immune system. Examples include:
    • People who are receiving chemotherapy
    • Transplanted organ recipients
    • People who have HIV/AIDS
    • People with autoimmune disease and who are taking medications that suppress the immune system.
  • People who have health conditions that affect the lungs or heart. Examples include:
  • Stroke
  • People who are in the hospital. In particular, people in the ICU or anyone recovering who spends a large amounts of time lying on their backs. This position allows fluids, mucus or germs to settle in the lungs. People who need ventilators to breathe are at even greater risk since they have a difficult time coughing up germs that could cause a lung infection.
  • People who smoke or drink alcohol. Smoking damages lung tissue and long-term alcohol abuse weakens the immune system.
  • People who are exposed to toxic fumes, chemicals or secondhand smoke. These contaminants weaken lung function and make it easier to develop a lung infection.
  • What Are The Treatments

    How to spot the differences between bronchitis, pneumonia
    • Antibiotics these are usually used to help fight the bacterial infection. However, some pneumonia is caused by a virus, in which case antibiotics are not helpful. Only your doctor can decide if it is bacterial or viral.
    • Chest pounding therapy this is VERY IMPORTANT. Four to six times each day, take your child into the bathroom with the hot shower on and let him breathe the steam for 10 minutes. Use your cupped hand to firmly clap on your childs chest, concentrating on the area that the pneumonia is. Pound rapidly for one minute, then rest a minute, then continue again on and off for ten minutes. This will shake the mucus and pus pocket loose so your child can cough it up. Encourage coughing during this time.
    • Cough medicine do not suppress the cough during the day. Your child needs to cough it up. You can use an expectorant during the day. At night you can use a combination expectorant and cough suppressant if your child is coughing a lot. If the cough is not too frequent, then dont use a suppressant.Click for more help with cough medicines

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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.

    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.

    Also Check: Do You Need Pneumonia Shot Every Year

    Key Points About Pneumonia

    • Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

    • There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.

    • A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.

    • Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.

    • Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.

    • Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.

    What Health Complications Can Pneumonia Lead To

    Chest hurts when I cough: Causes, symptoms, and remedies

    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

    Recommended Reading: Is Pneumonia Viral Or Bacterial

    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.

    Is Pneumonia Contagious In Dogs

    As with canine influenza, you’re not likely to contract pneumonia from your dog. However, bacterial and viral pneumonia can be transmitted easily between dogs, especially if they are very young, older, or have a compromised immune system. If you have multiple dogs in the home, you will need to separate the healthy ones from your sick pooch.

    You should also thoroughly clean all bedding, bowls, and gear, such as leashes, collars, and harnesses, to help avoid spreading the disease. In addition, be sure to wash your hands after handling your sick dog and consider wearing a protective garment over your clothing to help avoid spreading the disease that way.

    Also Check: What Is The Difference Between Pneumonia And Double Pneumonia

    How Bronchitis And Pneumonia Are Treated

    Treatments for both bronchitis and pneumonia depend on the underlying cause, such as whether its bacterial or viral.

    Bacterial pneumonia and acute bronchitis are both treated with antibiotics. For viral cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug. However, theyll likely suggest you get a few days of rest and drink plenty of fluids while you recover.

    If you have chronic bronchitis, your doctor may prescribe a breathing treatment or steroid drug that you inhale into your lungs. The medicine helps to reduce inflammation and clear mucus from your lungs.

    For more severe cases, your doctor might also prescribe supplemental oxygen to help you breathe. Its also important to avoid smoking or exposure to the substance that caused your bronchitis.

    Regardless of the cause, follow these tips to speed up your healing time:

    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink plenty of fluids to loosen up the mucus in your lungs. Water, clear juices, or broths are the best choices. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can be dehydrating.
    • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to reduce a fever and soothe body aches.
    • Turn on a humidifier to loosen up the mucus in your lungs.
    • Ask your doctor about using an over-the-counter cough remedy if your cough is keeping you up at night or making it hard to sleep.

    Pneumonia Symptoms And Causes

    Here’s What YOU Should KNOW About PNEUMONIA

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    There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, including bacteria, viruses, airborne irritants, and fungi. When these germs enter the lungs, they can overpower the immune system and invade nearby lung tissues, which are very delicate.

    Once infected, the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus, which causes coughing, fever, chills, and breathing problems.

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    Dr Sears Guide To Identifying If Your Child Could Have Pneumonia

    Your child has been coughing for several days. The cough then becomes deeper and junkier, and he starts having fevers. He are up all night, and cough medicine doesnt seem to be helping. You begin to worry, Could my child have pneumonia?

    You hear a child at school was diagnosed with pneumonia. Your own child has had a bit of a cough lately. You wonder just how contagious is pneumonia? Could your child have it?

    These are very common situations. There is really no good way for any parent to tell if their child has pneumonia. However, there are many ways to tell if your child probably does NOT have pneumonia. Here is the Dr. Sears guide.

    How Can I Help My Child Feel Better

    Your child should drink fluids throughout the day, especially if he or she has a fever. Ask the doctor before you use a medicine to treat a cough. Cough suppressants stop the lungs from clearing mucus, which might not be helpful for lung infections like walking pneumonia.

    If your child has chest pain, try placing a heating pad or warm compress on the area. Take your child’s temperature at least once each morning and each evening. Call the doctor if it goes above 102°F in an older infant or child, or above 100.4°F in an infant under 6 months of age.

    With treatment, most types of bacterial pneumonia go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Coughing can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to stop.

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