What’s The Link Between Covid
A quick refresher first: COVID-19 is a serious respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. It can lead to a range of intense symptoms, including a cough, fever, trouble breathing, and loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Pneumonia is an infection of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people, the CDC says.
Some patients with COVID-19 develop pneumoniain fact, the World Health Organization first called the virus -infected pneumonia , before shortening the name to COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was also first identified in Wuhan, China due to cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology,” or unknown cause, the WHO reported in January 2020.
It’s not uncommon to develop pneumonia as the result of any virus, Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells Health. In the case of COVID-19, the virus can damage your alveoli and cause fluid to build in your lungs as your body fights the infection, he explains. That can also lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome , which is a serious form of respiratory failure that makes the alveoli fill with fluid. “The immune system starts attacking the lung itself, which results in ARDS,” Dr. Casciari says.
Etiology Of Bacterial Pneumonia
Although pneumonia may be caused by myriad pathogens, a limited number of agents are responsible for most cases, Most authors categorize bacterial pneumonias by their infectious agents, which include pneumococcal agents Haemophilus influenzaeKlebsiella, Staphylococcus, and Legionella species gram-negative organisms and aspirated micro-organisms. Microaspiration of organisms that colonize the upper respiratory tract and mucosal surfaces is probably the most common mode of infection. Some agents, notably Staphylococcus species, may be spread hematogenously.
Does Coronavirus Cause Pneumonia
An individual who is infected with COVID-19 is more likely to experience mild or moderate symptoms, including coughing, fevers, and shortness of breath. People who catch COVID-19 suffer severe pneumonia of both their lungs, but they rarely die. The condition, which is also known as COVID-19 pneumonia, is dangerous.
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Preventing The Spread Of Pneumonia
You can help prevent the spread of a pneumonia by taking some simple hygiene precautions.
- washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, particularly after touching your nose and mouth, and before handling food
- coughing and sneezing into a tissue, then throwing it away immediately and washing your hands
- not sharing cups or kitchen utensils with others
How You Catch Pneumonia
While anyone can catch pneumonia, some people are more likely to come down with illness when coming into contact with the germs. Like many other illnesses, pneumonia is caught through contact with the bacteria or virus that creates pneumonia.
Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways these germs spread.
Its also possible to catch the illness by touching something like a counter or door handle, sharing cups and utensils, and touching your face without washing your hands first.
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How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.
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.
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What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
What Is Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae . People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
- Brain and spinal cord tissue
Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death. You can find a full list of symptoms for each part of the body that is affected on the symptoms and complications of pneumococcal disease page.
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What Is The Most Common Cause Of Bacterial Pneumonia
What Is known as Common Bacterial pneumoniae Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most prevalent cause of bacterial pneumonia. The problem is, however, that clinicians are unable to identify the type of germs that cause pneumonia or who causes it. People can acquire community-acquired pneumonia if they develop their pneumonia in the community .
What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacteria pneumonia is caused by bacteria that works its way into the lungs and then multiplies. It can occur on its own or develop after another illness, like a cold or the flu. People who have a higher risk for pneumonia may:
- have weakened immune systems
- have respiratory diseases
- be recovering from surgery
Doctors classify bacterial pneumonia based on whether it developed inside or outside a hospital.
Community-acquired pneumonia : This is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia. CAP occurs when you get an infection after exposure to bacterial agents outside of a healthcare setting. You can get CAP by breathing in respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, or by skin-to-skin contact.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia : HAP occurs within two to three days of exposure to germs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctors office. This is also called a nosocomial infection. This type of pneumonia is often more resistant to antibiotics and more is difficult to treat than CAP.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
The management of pneumonia requires an interprofessional team. The reason is that most patients are managed as outpatients, but if not properly treated, the morbidity and mortality are high.
Besides administering antibiotics, these patients often require chest physical therapy, a dietary consult, physical therapy to help regain muscle mass, and a dental consult. The key is to educate the patient on the discontinuation of smoking and abstaining from alcohol.
Patients need to be referred to a dietitian to ensure that they are eating healthy.
Further, the clinicians should encourage patients to get appropriate influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. The pharmacist should teach about antibiotic compliance and ensure that the patient is prescribed the right antibiotics aimed at the target organism. An infectious disease specialty-trained pharmacist is particularly helpful in assisting the team with difficult antibiotic treatment choices. Nursing can counsel on the appropriate dosing and administration of medications and answer patient questions, as well as charting treatment progress, and reporting any issues to the clinician managing the case.
Finally, it is important to educate the patient to follow up with clinicians if they want a complete resolution of the infectious process. Only with open communication between the interprofessional team can the morbidity of pneumonia be lowered.
What Is Pneumonia Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Pneumonia is a lower respiratory lung infection that causes inflammation in one or both lungs.
Air sacs in your lungs called alveoli can then fill up with fluid or pus, causing flu-like symptoms that can persist for weeks or cause rapid deterioration of breathing leading to hospitalization. Pneumonia doesn’t respond to over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines.
Pneumonia comes in different forms and is caused primarily by bacteria or viruses, which are contagious, and less commonly by fungi or parasites.
The type of germ contributes to how serious the illness can become and how its treated. The severity of an infection depends on many factors, including your age and overall health, as well as where you may have acquired the illness.
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Treatment And Medication Options For Pneumonia
A lot of treatment aspects, as well as outcome, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have, says Dr. Barron. Sometimes youll be fine just resting, but if you have things like trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.
Your doctor will outline a plan that’s specific to you, considering the type of pneumonia you have, the severity of the condition, your age, and your overall health. From there, you’ll know whether you can be treated at home or need to go to the hospital, and whether you require antibiotics.
How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
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.
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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.
What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Pneumonia
Your child’s doctor may order a to diagnose pneumonia. The cause of some types of pneumonia can be determined by culturing the bacteria taken from the mucus an ill child produces from coughing. This helps doctors determine what types of treatments will work best. Some viral pneumonias can be diagnosed by testing nasal secretions.
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Are There Treatments For Covid
Clinical trials are looking into whether some drugs and treatments used for other conditions might treat severe COVID-19 or related pneumonia, including dexamethasone, a corticosteroid.
The FDA has approved the antiviral remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID. The drug was origininally developed to treat the Ebola virus.
How Do You Catch Bacteria Pneumonia
A person does not acquire bacterial pneumonia from an existing infection, but a person does come into contact with an existing infection that led to the illness. An object contaminated with this virus can catch coughs, sneezes, and contamination. Proper hygiene could help prevent pneumonia from spreading or developing the risk of catching it.
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How Do You Prevent Pneumonia
Getting a flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine can help protect you against the bacteria, says Dr. Dass. “Our bodies can usually clear the virus or bacteria with lots of rest and good nutrition before it turns into pneumonia,” she explains. “However, with today’s increased stress levels and decreased sleep hours, our immune systems are not in optimal shape. Lack of rest, high stress, poor diet/nutrition, and sedentary lifestyle all help fuel the onset of pneumonia.”
Considering pneumonia is “one of the most common and lethal medical conditions doctors see,” it’s a very important topic to be aware of, adds Dr. Dass. “In the most recent National Health Statistics Report published in 2018, pneumonia accounted for 0.5 percent of all emergency room visits. If you take into account all emergency room visits or office visits where this was the main issue, this accounts for more than 4.5 million people.”
Both doctors agree that staying vaccinated and staying vigilant are crucial well beyond cold and flu season. Be sure to visit your doctor as soon as you feel something’s not quite right.
How Can You Tell If Pneumonia Is Viral Or Bacterial
While the process of combining the presence of respiratory symptoms with an abnormal exam and X-ray helps to delineate the cause of pneumonia, the only gold standard test to confirm the presence of a specific pathogen is a culture (a sample of respiratory mucous secretions or blood that is analyzed in the lab for the
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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.
People At Increased Risk
People of all ages can get sick from C. pneumoniae. It most commonly infects people for the first time when they are school-aged children or young adults. However, reinfection is most common in older adults.
People at increased risk include those who live or work in crowded settings where outbreaks most commonly occur8, such as:
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How Is Bacterial Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. You may need any of the following tests:
- Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
- Blood tests are used to check for infection.
- A chest x-ray may show signs of infection in your lungs.
- A mucus sample is collected and tested for the germ that is causing your illness. It can help your healthcare provider choose the best medicine to treat the infection.
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
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