Who Is Most Likely To Get Aspiration Pneumonia
Aspiration pneumonia is more common among people who:
- Have had general anesthesia or dental procedures.
- Have trouble coughing or trouble swallowing. Trouble swallowing is known as dysphagia. These issues are more common among people with brain injury or nervous system disorders like Parkinsons disease or multiple sclerosis.
- Have been drinking or taking drugs to excess.
- Are older . Aspiration pneumonia is more common among people who live in nursing homes.
- Have weak immune systems due to some illness, or underdeveloped immune systems due to being very young .
When Should You Call Your Doctor
The faster you get treatment, the faster you will get over pneumonia. This is especially true for the very young, for people older than 65, and for anyone with other long-lasting health problems, such as asthma.
911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
- Have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing, is increasing in intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attack.
- Have such bad trouble breathing that you are worried you will not have the strength or ability to keep breathing.
- Cough up large amounts of blood.
- Feel that you may faint when you sit up or stand.
if you have:
- A cough that produces blood-tinged or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs.
- A fever with shaking chills.
- Difficult, shallow, fast breathing with shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Frequently brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs and lasts longer than 2 days. Do not confuse mucus from your lungs with mucus running down the back of your throat from your nasal passages . Post-nasal drainage is not a worry.
- Occurs with a fever of 38.3Â°C or higher and brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs .
- Causes you to vomit a lot.
- Continues longer than 4 weeks.
Also call your doctor if you have new chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing and if you have other symptoms of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
How Long Does Viral Pneumonia Last
Your recovery time depends on how healthy you were before you were diagnosed with viral pneumonia. A young, healthy adult will usually recover faster than other age groups. Most people recover in a week or two. Adults or seniors may take several weeks before they fully recover.
The best way to prevent pneumonia is to practice good hygiene, get the seasonal flu shot every year, and try to avoid those around you who are sick with a cold or the flu.
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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.
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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A Study Explains Why Covid
Compared to traditional forms of pneumonia, pneumonia from the novel coronavirus develops over a longer period of time and lasts longer, according to a study in Nature. Researchers from Northwestern University School of Medicine compared lung cell samples from more than 85 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia to more than 200 hospitalized patients with pneumonia from other sources. Combining these results with foundational studies, they believe SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, burrows deep in the lungs of people who develop severe respiratory infections from the virus. Once there, SARS-CoV-2 appears to take over immune function. White blood cells and immune helpers that rush to infection sites to coordinate recovery appear to instead ferry SARS-CoV-2 to neighboring lung cells. The researchers believe this altered immune response explains why COVID-19 pneumonia takes longer to develop and extends hospital stays. In this study, the average length between a patient feeling sick from COVID-19 and requiring breathing support was 6-12 days. For people with similar complications from the flu, the range was 1-3 days or shorter.
To accelerate recovery from severe COVID-19 lung infections, the researchers will test treatment to restore immune function. The research was supported by the NHLBI.
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.
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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.
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.
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Stages Of Pneumonia In Seniors
Anyone can get pneumonia with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Seniors may be more likely to get pneumonia and experience serious complications. Due to these higher risks, senior care providers need to recognize early pneumonia symptoms in seniors.
They also should understand the four stages of pneumonia so they can seek prompt treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.
Pneumonia: A Very Serious Condition
The respiratory disease pneumonia can be a very dangerous infection caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, or an injury to the lungs. In pneumonia, the air sacs essential to breathing, called the alveoli, become inflamed. They fill with pus or with fluid, making breathing a serious task and robbing the body of adequate oxygen supply.
The causative agents behind pneumonia can enter the body through breathing , or through the eyes. Pneumonia can affect one or both sides of the lungs if the persons body is not capable to defending itself from the pathogens that can lead to an infection.
The symptoms of pneumonia are many and varied, ranging from chest, muscle and abdominal pain, to a high body temperature and severe coughs, to diarrhea, vomiting and overwhelmingly feeling exhausted.
As far as the treatment for pneumonia goes, it strictly depends on the underlying pathogen that caused pneumonia in the first place.
If the infection is bacterial or mycoplasmal, there are antibiotics that will cure it. However, if the pneumonia resulted from a viral infection, for example COVID-19 pneumonia, there are no medical treatments to cure the pneumonia, and the treatment is focused on symptom management. In this case, it is crucial to give the body time and support to fight the virus.
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What To Expect By Age And Health
Here is how age can affect your recovery from pneumonia:
- Infants under the age of 6 months are typically hospitalized for pneumonia out of an abundance of caution.
- Children over the age of 6 months are more likely to be treated at home, provided they are typically healthy.
- Older adults may take longer to bounce back from pneumonia since our immune system naturally weakens the older we get, especially if you have a preexisting health condition. Its also more common for the elderly and chronically ill to be hospitalized for pneumonia since the rate of complications and mortality increases for those over the age of 65.
When Pneumonia Is An Emergency
In severe cases, pneumonia can cause you to have extreme difficulty breathing or develop a blue tinge to your fingernails, lips, or other skin areas. This is an indication that the level of oxygen in your blood is dangerously low. If you experience these symptoms, dont wait to talk to your doctor: Call 911 immediately. In addition, young children whose symptoms are preventing them from drinking enough fluids should be taken to the ER because they may need intravenous fluids.
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Is Pneumonia Contagious
Certain types of pneumonia are contagious . Pneumonia caused by bacteria or viruses can be contagious when the disease-carrying organisms are breathed into your lungs. However, not everyone who is exposed to the germs that cause pneumonia will develop it.
Pneumonia caused by fungi are not contagious. The fungi are in soil, which becomes airborne and inhaled, but it is not spread from person to person.
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.
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Pneumonia In The Elderly
Pneumonia in the elderly is a massive topic. Did you know that there are over 30 different causes of pneumonia and that there are different types of pneumonia? In this article, we tackle some of the bigger questions people might have about pneumonia and the elderly.
We also focus on community-acquired pneumonia, which is a type of pneumonia that occurs in large populations of elderly people, such as in a hospital, an assisted living facility, or even in an apartment complex.
How Long Is Pneumonia Contagious
Pneumonia may be contagious for 2-14 days. Usually, the goal of medications given for pneumonia is to limit the spread of the disease. A person with bacterial pneumonia will stop being contagious within two days of taking antibiotics. However, rarely, the treatment may have to be administered for at least two weeks or more before a person is no longer contagious, depending upon which type of bacteria has caused the disease. Individuals with viral pneumonia are less contagious after symptoms have subsided.
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How Is Pneumonia Treated
When you get a pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.
Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic. It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
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.
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How Common Is Aspiration Pneumonia
Aspiration of food or drink is a relatively common thing. Youve probably heard someone say that food “went down the wrong pipe, meaning that food or drink went toward your lungs instead of your stomach. When this happens, you probably coughed until you felt better.
When the same sort of thing happens to someone who isnt able to cough the food or drink out of their lungs, aspiration pneumonia may result.
Returning To Everyday Activities
Regardless of whether you could treat your pneumonia at home or you were hospitalized for pneumonia, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself as you recover. Here are some recovery tips:
- Stay home:Be sure you stay home until your fever breaks and your coughing is at least minimal. Staying home and resting not only improves your recovery, it also protects anyone you come into contact with from getting sick.
- Get plenty of rest:Take naps when you need to, and hang low while recovering.
- Drink plenty of fluids:This will help keep your body hydrated as it works to flush out your illness.
- Complete prescription medication: Make sure to complete the full course of any antibiotics, even if youre feeling better.
- Pace yourself:Ease into your typical everyday life.
Pneumonia is a serious infection capable of damaging your lungs. While many people seem to recover from pneumonia fully, its possible your lungs will not be able to return to the same level of activity as before.
This possibility is just one reason why its important to slowly ramp up your activity level as you heal, and practice any breathing techniques your healthcare provider may recommend.
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