How To Regain Strength After Pneumonia
If you have pneumonia, the first priority is clearing the infection causing it.
This means following your doctor’s treatment plan very closely. Yes, getting plenty of rest. And, yes, taking every single pill in the bottle of antibiotics your doctor prescribed you if your pneumonia is bacterial in nature.
But, even after your primary symptoms fade away, you may be left feeling lousy, with low energy and/or dealing with a cough that just won’t quit. In some cases, you may feel weak for months.
Limit Contact With Others
One of the best things you can do when recovering from pneumonia is to limit your contact with others. As weve learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemicwhich can cause viral pneumoniastaying at least six feet away from others reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to as you breathe or talk.
When To Seek Medical Care
A physician should be seen if the following symptoms are present: fever and cough after having flu-like symptoms.
A person should go to an ER if these symptoms appear chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion and high fever. If a person has a chronic health problem like diabetes, HIV, or other problems that result in a depressed immune system, he or she should see a physician immediately or go to an ER if even mild pneumonia symptoms develop.
Complications from pneumonia included sepsis, pleural effusion and empyema. Pneumonia can be fatal in up to 30% of severe cases that are managed in the intensive-care setting.
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What Is Pneumonia Again
Just a quick refresher: Pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Pneumonia causes the air sacscalled alveoliof the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. That can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like a cough with or without mucus, fever, chills, and trouble breathing.
Pneumonia can be severe, and sometimes even fatal. “Pneumonia can kill you,”David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Health. “It used to be one of the leading causes of death in this country and the world. It’s only since the development of antibiotics and vaccines to prevent pneumonia that it’s no longer the case.”
Can You Catch Pneumonia More Than Once
Yes. Pneumonia is caused by many different microbes, and so getting it once does not protect you from getting it again. If you get pneumonia more than once you may need to have more investigations to understand why this has happened. It could be due to a problem in your chest or your immune system, and you may be referred to a specialist.
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Can You Get The Flu From Your Dog
Dog flu is caused by a virus that can be transmitted to other dogs, but there are currently no cases where it has spread to humans. It is caused by a different type of virus than the one that makes us feel all achy and feverish. Because there have been rare, isolated reports of sick dogs infecting cats, ferrets, and guinea pigs, sick dogs should be safely isolated from other pets in the home. However, you don’t have to worry about contracting the flu from them.
Some diseases can be passed between dogs and humans. Learn about the risks of these zoonotic diseases.
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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What Are The Symptoms
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.
Is Pneumonia Treated Any Differently In Children
Essentially no. Just like adults, bacterial causes of pneumonia in children may be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are not used to treat pneumonia caused by viruses. Flu-related pneumonia may be treated with antiviral medicine if caught early in the course of illness. Most cases of pneumonia are treated with comfort care measures that ease symptoms. These may include:
- Drinking more fluids.
- Getting more rest.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines for cough and acetaminophen for fever. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicines to your child.
- Using a cool mist humidifier in your childs room.
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Articles On Pneumonia Types
âWalking pneumonia” sounds like it could be the name of a sci-fi horror flick. But it’s actually the least scary kind of pneumonia. It can be milder than the other types, and you usually donât have to stay in the hospital. You could have walking pneumonia and not even know it.
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.
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It Might Feel Like A Cold
Walking pneumonia is how some people describe a mild case of pneumonia. Your doctor might call it âatypical pneumoniaâ because itâs not like more serious cases.
A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:
- Inhaled food
Walking pneumonia usually is due to bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
You probably wonât have to stay in bed or in the hospital. You might even feel good enough go to work and keep up your routine, just as you might with a cold.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Pneumonia
To reduce your risk of getting or spreading pneumonia, you should do the following:
- Practice good hygiene.Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching frequently used public surfaces. In addition, coughing into your elbow – and not your hands – can help of pathogens that cause pneumonia.
- Boost your immune system. To keep your immune system strong and protect yourself against illness, you should exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Read more about how to boost your immune system.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and reduces their ability to defend against germs. A 2016 analysis of 27 studies examining the effect of tobacco smoke on developing pneumonia found that smokers older than 65 are at a 64% increased risk for pneumonia.
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Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
When to call a doctor
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Dogs
The signs of pneumonia in dogs include:
- Deep cough
- Appetite and weight loss
Dogs with pneumonia may also show intolerance to exercise. For instance, they may not have any interest in activities they usually love, like going for a walk or playing fetch, and they may tire out more quickly than usual.
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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.
How Long Youre Contagious
The types of viruses and bacteria that cause bronchitis will usually have been in your system from two to six days before you start feeling cold symptoms.
Bronchitis, especially if its viral, can be contagious from just hours after youve been exposed, long before you develop symptoms. So, theres a good number of days between when youre exposed to when you start feeling sick, but you can pass the infection on during that time.
Once you start feeling sick, youll feel like you have a cold or flu that lasts a few days to up to 10. Other symptoms may resolve, but you can develop a lingering cough. Youll be contagious through the cold or flu sickness phase, and if viral bronchitis develops, you will likely be contagious for a few days, even a week.
Antibiotics are not generally recommended for viral or bacterial bronchitis. In the cases where they are given appropriately, you should no longer be contagious about 24 hours after you start taking them.
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Who Is At High Risk Of Pneumonia
Cases of pneumonia can be mild to severe and even life-threatening, depending on your physical condition and the type of pneumonia your have. Anyoneyoung or oldcan get this respiratory condition. The following groups are more susceptible to developing pneumonia:
- People 65 years of age and older
- Patients with a preexisting respiratory illness, such as COPD or asthma
- People with underlying health problems, such as heart disease or HIV/AIDS
- Those with weakened immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, recovering from surgery, taking immunosuppressant drugs, or breathing on a ventilator
- People with overall poor health
- People who smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol
A medical professional can diagnose pneumonia with a physical examination or chest X-ray and prescribe medication as necessary.
In general, children are more likely to get pneumonia than adults. Pneumonia is the number one cause of childhood deaths in the world. Although child mortality rates from pneumonia are significantly less in America because of available health care, pneumonia is the number one reason why children are hospitalized in the United States. Children 5 years old and younger are at higher risk for pneumonia than older children.
Home Treatments For Pneumonia In Dogs
Your veterinarian can recommend the best way to care for your sick dog at home. They may suggest:
- Restricting their activity and making sure they get lots of rest.
- Offering them plenty of fresh water to help keep them from getting dehydrated.
- Sitting with your dog in the bathroom with a hot shower running for around fifteen minutes a few times a day. The steam and humidity can help thin out mucus so it can be coughed up more easily.
While your dog needs rest, they may also benefit from short bouts of exercise that can loosen mucus secretions and help your dog cough out debris. However, follow your dog’s lead and don’t force them to exercise if they’re not up for it.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Most of the time, your bronchitis should resolve on its own with time and rest. Get in touch with your healthcare provider if:
- Your temperature is above 100.4 degrees F
- Youre coughing up bloody mucus
- Youre having trouble breathing or are wheezing
- Symptoms arent improving after three weeks
- Your cough goes away and comes back
Bacterial Pneumonia Can Develop After A Cold Or The Flu
Bacterial pneumonia can develop on its own, or after a person has had a cold or the flu. Respiratory diseases or viral infections can put people at greater risk for getting bacterial pneumonia. Risk factors for getting bacterial pneumonia include illless, recent surgery, being immune compromised , old age, or malnutrition. When the body’s immune system is compromised, bacteria that live in healthy throats can move to the lungs, causing pneumonia and systemic infection.
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When Should I See A Doctor
Make an appointment if:
- Your cough does not improve after 10 days.
- Youâre really uncomfortable or are coughing so hard that you canât sleep.
- You have chest pain with coughing or difficulty breathing.
- Your cough is accompanied by unexplained weight loss.
- You have a fever over 100.4 F.
- Youâre wheezing or feel like you canât breathe.
- Thereâs blood in the mucus you cough up, or you have other symptoms that seem unusual for a cold.
- You get frequent bouts of bronchitis.
Is It Pneumonia Or The Flu
The symptoms of canine influenza are similar to those of pneumonia. They can include fever, moist or dry coughing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and a lack of appetite. It can be difficult to tell at home what is causing your dog’s illness. That’s why it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan.
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When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia
You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:
- Shortness of breath or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Mucus, fever or cough
If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.
When Is Pneumonia Contagious
Pneumonia is contagious when the causative pathogens are expelled by an infected person by coughing out infected droplets. These expelled droplets contain the bacteria or virus that causes the pneumonia. These droplets contaminate the mouth or breathing tract of another individual to eventually infect their lungs.
The approximate time when pneumonia becomes contagious varies with the type of infecting agent and may range from one to two days to weeks. In addition, some pneumonias are more highly contagious than others. For example, Mycobacterium and Mycoplasma organisms are highly contagious, but other types, including pneumococcal pneumonia, require optimal conditions to spread to another person and are weakly contagious.
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Incubation Period And Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The incubation period is the time from when you pick up the pneumonia virus to when you actively display symptoms. Many variables affect this, including the type of pneumonia, your general health, and your age. You may assume that you have a cold or the flu when symptoms begin because they are quite similar. However, they last longer and become more severe with time instead of less.