Thursday, September 29, 2022

How To Know If You Are Getting Pneumonia

What Are The Symptoms

What can I do to prevent getting pneumonia?

Symptoms of pneumonia may include:

  • Cough. You will likely cough up mucus from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
  • Fever, chills, and sweating.
  • Feeling very tired or very weak.

When you have less severe symptoms, your doctor may call this “walking pneumonia.”

Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion or delirium is common. Or, if they already have a lung disease, that disease may get worse.

Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.

How Can You Prevent Pneumonia

Experts recommend immunization for children and adults. Children get the pneumococcal vaccine as part of their routine shots. If you are 65 or older or you have a long-term health problem, it’s a good idea to get a pneumococcal vaccine. It may not keep you from getting pneumonia. But if you do get pneumonia, you probably won’t be as sick. You can also get an influenza vaccine to prevent the flu, because sometimes people get pneumonia after having the flu.

You can also lower your chances of getting pneumonia by staying away from people who have the flu, respiratory symptoms, or chickenpox. You may get pneumonia after you have one of these illnesses. Wash your hands often. This helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that may cause pneumonia.

Warning Signs Your Lungs Are Trying To Give You Post

Your lungs can give you some signs which may signal that something is wrong within your body. Especially when it comes to pneumonia, there are certain signs which may help you spot the condition fast and start the treatment before it is too late for you to save your lungs. According to the experts, the onset of pneumonia can be quite sudden, as in without any prior signals. This is why it is important for you to track the actions of your lungs and understand the abnormalities going on inside your system. COVID-19 wrecks havoc on the lungs, and these conditions thereafter can lead to symptoms such as a phlegm-producing cough. Check out for these subtle, yet warning symptoms of pneumonia post-COVID recovery.

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How Is Aspiration Pneumonia Treated

You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics are given to treat pneumonia caused by bacteria. You may be given antibiotics as pills or through your IV.
  • Steroids are given to reduce swelling in your lungs.
  • You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Spreading Pneumonia To Others

Aspiration pneumonia: Treatment, complications, and outlook

If your pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria, you may spread the infection to other people while you are contagious. How long you are contagious depends on what is causing the pneumonia and whether you get treatment. You may be contagious for several days to a week.

If you get antibiotics, you usually cannot spread the infection to others after a day of treatment.

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Getting Treatment For Pneumonia

Once youve been diagnosed, your doctor can begin treating your pneumonia. In most cases, you can be treated at home. However, your doctor may choose to hospitalize you if youre risks of getting worse are high or your symptoms are severe. Common treatment for pneumonia includes:

  • Antibiotics, which target and treat bacterial infections. More than one type of antibiotic may be needed to treat your pneumonia.
  • Cough medicine to help reduce coughing and allow for more rest.
  • Pain reliever/fever reducer to help bring down your fever and pain symptoms. Most over-the-counter medications should work, but your doctor may recommend specific medications.

If you have pneumonia signs or symptoms, dont wait too long before you contact your doctor. Getting the right treatment will help you feel better more quickly.

Is There A Vaccine For Pneumonia

There isnt a vaccine for all types of pneumonia, but 2 vaccines are available. These help prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The first is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. The second is recommended for anyone age 2 or older who is at increased risk for pneumonia. Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:

  • Are 65 years of age or older.
  • Smoke.
  • Have certain chronic conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis.
  • Have a weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged or removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or receiving chemotherapy.
  • Have cochlear implants .

The pneumococcal vaccines cant prevent all cases of pneumonia. But they can make it less likely that people who are at risk will experience the severe, and possibly life-threatening, complications of pneumonia.

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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.

Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia

How do I know if I have 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.
  • Viral pneumonia: Get a flu vaccine once every year. Flu vaccines are prepared to protect against that years virus strain. Having the flu can make it easier to get bacterial pneumonia.
  • 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 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.

    Medical History And Physical Exam

    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.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of A Chest Infection

    The main symptoms of a chest infection can include:

    • coughing up yellow or green phlegm , or coughing up blood
    • breathlessness or rapid and shallow breathing
    • wheezing
    • chest pain or tightness
    • feeling confused and disorientated

    You may also experience more general symptoms of an infection, such as a headache, fatigue, sweating, loss of appetite, or joint and muscle pain.

    More Severe Cases May Also Cause:

    3 Facts About Pneumonia You Might Not Know
    • 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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    Trouble In Breathing Due To Inflammed Air Sacs Or Alveoli

    You may experience a steady drop in your breathing rate or an unexplained rise in your breathing counts. One may also notice that there is sudden trouble which one may notice every time he/she breathes. This condition is also known as laboured breathing. “The patient may notice that the breathing rate post-COVID recovery has drastically changed. It is either rapid or shallow. One can also find him/herself becoming breathless even while resting,” Dr. Mukherjee told TheHealthSite.com.

    How To Keep The Flu From Turning Into Pneumonia

    Once you’re sick, experts worry about other viruses and bacteria parking it in your lungs, causing a potentially dangerous situation.

    You might already know a lot about the flu, like that the virus is highly contagious. It’s also potentially dangerous . And it is possible to get two different strains of it in one season.

    If you already have the flu, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep the virus from turning into pneumonia. Pneumonia is an inflammation and infection of your lungs-and studies show that up to a third of pneumonia cases stem from respiratory viruses like the flu.

    Why? Well, first, a look at a set of healthy lungs. “One of the ways you keep your lungs clear and your body free of infection is simply by breathing in and out deeply so that you can clear out mucus, secretions, and other pathogens that can enter our system,” says Noah Greenspan, D.P.T., a board-certified specialist in cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy and rehabilitation and the founder of Pulmonary Wellness & Rehabilitation Center in New York City. If your body senses an allergen or anything that it sees as a threat? It sets off a small inflammatory response and creates mucus to help you get rid of those particles, says Greenspan.

    The flu, though, weakens your immune system, he says. Specifically, a constricted airway and inflammation can slow down the movement of air and hinder your ability to clear mucus and secretions.

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    Cough And Cold Medicines

    Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.

    Always check to see if any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines you are taking contain acetaminophen. If they do, make sure the acetaminophen you are taking in your cold medicine plus any other acetaminophen you may be taking is not higher than the daily recommended dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much you can take every day.

    What Increases My Risk For Aspiration Pneumonia

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    Your risk is highest if you are older than 75 or live in a nursing home or long-term care center. You may become less active as you age, or you may be bedridden. You may not be able to swallow or cough well. The following also increase your risk for aspiration pneumonia:

    • The muscles that help you swallow are weakened by stroke, Alzheimer disease, or other diseases
    • A weakened immune system caused by diabetes, COPD, heart failure, or other health problems
    • Smoking cigarettes
    • Use of a feeding tube or ventilator that allows bacteria to travel to your lungs
    • Surgery or radiation to treat cancer of the head or neck
    • Poor oral hygiene, teeth that are missing, or dentures
    • Alcoholism or IV drug use

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    How To Not Let Your Body Catch Pneumonia After Recovering From Covid

    Pneumonia is extremely common among those whose lungs are too weak or vulnerable to virus attacks. COVID can damage your lungs to a great extent, thus taking care of this organ post-COVID is important to not let your body catch pneumonia. To keep it simple, Dr. Mukherjee says that the best way to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia are certain lifestyle changes, including turning into a non-smoker , limiting alcohol intake, getting a flu-shot and taking the jabs against COVID-19 as well .

    How Is Aspiration Pneumonia Diagnosed

    It is common to aspirate but not know it. Your healthcare provider may diagnose aspiration pneumonia if you have symptoms and a history of swallowing problems. He or she will ask about your symptoms and when they started. He or she will look inside your mouth and down your throat, and listen to your heart and lungs. Your healthcare provider will ask you to speak and cough while he or she listens. Tell him or her about any health problems you have and any medicines you use. You may need any of the following tests:

    • Blood tests are used to find out if your white blood cell count is high. This can be a sign of infection.
    • A barium swallow may show if you have long-term swallowing problems. Your healthcare provider will watch you swallow different foods and liquids. You may be asked to drink a thick liquid called barium while healthcare providers take x-rays of your throat, esophagus, and lungs.
    • A sputum culture may be tested for bacteria that can cause pneumonia. Your healthcare provider may ask you to cough mucus into a cup, or he or she may suction mucus from your throat.
    • X-ray or CT pictures may show lung damage or an infection, such as swelling and fluid in your lungs. You may be given contrast liquid before the CT scan so your healthcare provider can see the pictures better. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

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    What Does Pneumonia Feel Like

    Not everyone feels the same when they have pneumonia, but there arecore signs you can look out for, such as feeling like you’re out of breath,generally feeling tired or sleepy and sharp, stabbing chest pain. Note, however,that “walking pneumonia” might not have obvious symptoms or justsymptoms of a common cold.

    How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person

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    Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.

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    You Should Call Your Doctor If You Have These Symptoms

    It may be hard to tell if you have pneumonia just from how you feel, but there are things to look out for.

    According to Ward, symptoms of pneumonia include:

    • Cough, which can include mucus or phlegm
    • Fever or chills
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pain, especially when breathing or coughing

    To monitor your symptoms, I recommend keeping a working thermometer and a blood oxygen reader, called a pulse oximeter, at home, she says.

    If you have any of the following symptoms, Ward recommends seeking medical attention:

    • A fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even after taking fever-lowering medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
    • Blood oxygen level lower than 95%
    • Coughing up blood or sputum that contains blood

    She adds that people whose immune systems are compromised should contact their doctor, if they think they are having pneumonia symptoms.

    How Do You Get Pneumonia

    You may get pneumonia:

    • After you breathe infected air particles into your lungs.
    • After you breathe certain bacteria from your nose and throat into your lungs.
    • During or after a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or influenza .
    • As a complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox.
    • If you breathe large amounts of food, gastric juices from the stomach, or vomit into the lungs . This can happen when you have had a medical condition that affects your ability to swallow, such as a seizure or a stroke.

    A healthy person’s nose and throat often contain bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can develop when these organisms spread to your lungs while your lungs are more likely to be infected. Examples of times when this can happen are during or soon after a cold or if you have a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .

    You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work or when you are in a hospital or nursing home . Treatment may differ in healthcare-associated pneumonia, because bacteria causing the infection in hospitals may be different from those causing it in the community. This topic focuses on community-associated pneumonia.

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