What Are The Treatment Options
Viral pneumonia usually goes away on its own. Therefore, treatment focuses on easing some of the symptoms. A person with viral pneumonia should get sufficient rest and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
A doctor may prescribe cough-relieving medication to help ease coughing. People should only take cough suppressant medicine if and when a doctor instructs them to because coughing helps clear the infection from the lungs. For those with thick lung mucus, a doctor may prescribe a cough expectorant.
In some cases of viral pneumonia, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to reduce viral activity. This treatment tends to be most effective when the virus is in the early stage of infection.
In rare instances, a doctor may hospitalize a person with viral pneumonia. People over the age of 65 or with chronic health conditions are more likely to need hospital care. The very young are also at higher risk for serious viral pneumonia.
The viruses that cause viral pneumonia are contagious. During the cold and flu season, a person can take steps to stay healthy. These steps may protect against viral pneumonia and other viral illnesses.
Some techniques that people can use to try to prevent getting sick include:
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age and your overall health.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, especially in older people
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.
What About The Influenza And Pneumococcal Vaccines
Because the flu is a common cause of pneumonia, consider getting your flu vaccine. This is one of the reasons we recommend the flu vaccine, because not only can you get the flu virus and feel really miserable, but you can end up with a secondary bacterial infection which could be very serious or even fatal, Dr. Cameron says.
There is also a pneumococcal vaccine, which offers protection from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. The shot is recommended for children younger than 5 and adults 65 and older. It is also advised for children and adults who are at an increased risk of pneumonia due to other health conditions.
How Long Does It Last
It takes a certain amount of time to start to feel sick after getting exposed to a germ. This length of time is called the incubation period, and it depends on many things, especially which bug is causing the illness.
With influenza pneumonia, for example, someone may become sick as soon as 12 hours or as long as 3 days after exposure to the flu virus. But with walking pneumonia, a person may not feel it until 2 to 3 weeks after becoming infected.
Most types of pneumonia clear up within a week or two, although a cough can linger for several weeks more. In severe cases, it may take longer to completely recover.
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What Are The Common Causes Of Pneumonia For Older Adults
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:
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.
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Viral Pneumonia In Immunocompromised Hosts
Although immunocompromised patients are at higher risk for viral pneumonia from CMV, VZV, HSV, measles, and adenoviruses, seasonal viruses remain a major cause of pneumonia. HSCT and SOT recipients are particularly at risk for acquiring lower respiratory tract infection due to CMV and RSV.
CMV pneumonia has been observed in 10-30% of patients with HSCT and 15-55% of heart-lung transplant recipients, making this virus the most common cause of viral pneumonia in the former patient group. After CMV, the frequency of viruses isolated from HSCT patients vary, with influenza virus ranging from 14-52%, RSV 14-48%, adenovirus 2-21%, and PIV 11-49% of viral isolates.
Although HSV has been shown to cause pneumonia in this patient population, it is relatively rare when compared with the other viral pathogens, with one study showing HSV to cause 5% of nonbacterial pneumonias in HSCT recipients, compared with 46% for CMV.
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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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
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.
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Other Ways To Prevent Pneumonia
You can take the following steps to help prevent pneumonia:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs.
- Dont smoke. Smoking prevents your lungs from properly filtering out and defending your body against germs. For information about how to quit smoking, visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. These resources include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of physical activity and follow a healthy eating plan. Read more about heart-healthy living.
- If you have problems swallowing, eat smaller meals of thickened foodand sleep with the head of your bed raised up. These steps can help you avoid getting food, drink, or saliva into your lungs.
- If you have a planned surgery, your doctor may recommend that you dont eat for 8 hours or drink liquids for 2 hours before your surgery. This can help prevent food or drink from getting into your airway while you are sedated.
- If your immune system is impaired or weakened, your doctor may recommend you take antibiotics to prevent bacteria from growing in your lungs.
Deterrence And Patient Education
Patient education and preventative medicine play a key role in the clinical management of viral pneumonia:
- Education to promote universal vaccination against measles and varicella
- Education to promote appropriate influenza vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis
- Education of prenatal patient’s about influenza and varicella immunity
- HIV prevention and CD4 count surveillance with appropriate prophylaxis
- Education and surveillance of the chronically immunosuppressed, including those receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunosuppressive drugs
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
Beware Of Chronic Chest Pains
Never ignore a mild to moderate chest pain post-COVID recovery, as you may not realise when it can turn into a severe symptom and lead to hospitalisation. One of the most common Long-COVID symptoms is chest pain. This can happen due to a lot of reasons, but patients suffering from pneumonia will experience the worst of it. “one may develop chest pain, which can get worse when breathing or coughing. Take this seriously and make sure to get tested for pneumonia without delay,” says Dr. Mukherjee.
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What Stands Out About Yale Medicines Approach To Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a common infection in both children and adults and can often be easily treated. However, if specialized care is required, Yale Medicine physicians practice at both Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Childrens Hospital.
Furthermore, our researchers are involved in developing ways to more quickly and accurately diagnose lung infections through the Yale Center for Pulmonary Infection Research and Treatment . We dont tend to think of pneumonia as a chronic condition. But some patients end up with longer-term problems, says Dr. Dela Cruz, director of the CPIRT. The center focuses on finding new potential treatment options and running clinical trials to better understand the disease.
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 .
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How Is Walking Pneumonia Different
Walking pneumonia, also known as atypical pneumonia, is caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. It usually causes cold-like symptoms, in addition to a fever and a hacking cough. It is most common in school-aged children and young adults, says Annette Cameron, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatrician.
Because this type of pneumonia typically causes milder symptoms, it may go undiagnosed for a while, especially if the child is able to participate in normal activities and isnt as visibly sick as he or she would be with other forms of pneumonia. And thats why its called walking pneumonia, Dr. Cameron says. It might just be a little bit of malaise. Sometimes you can have community-acquired, or bacterial pneumonia, along with walking pneumonia, in which case we would just treat both of them.
Preventing Pneumonia In Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinating children with the PVC13 vaccine. It helps prevent pneumonia from developing in children 2 years old and younger. The â13â in the PVC13 vaccine means it defends children against 13 variations of the pneumococcal disease. You should discuss the vaccine option with your childâs healthcare provider. Itâs also a good idea to verify that your child is up-to-date on all other recommended vaccines for their age group.
Children can start receiving doses of the PVC13 vaccine when they are two months old. After that, they should receive booster shots periodically until they turn 15 months old. It only takes one dose of PVC13 to immunize children between the ages of 2 and 5 who have not previously received the vaccine. The same goes for children aged 2 to 18 who have certain medical conditions and have never gotten a PVC13 vaccination.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide pneumonia vaccine is also recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 5 who have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, including those who have:
- Heart disease
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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.
Causes Of Pneumonia In Children
Children are vulnerable to developing pneumonia from viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Pneumonia often develops as a complication of another disease like the flu or a viral upper respiratory infection. Our nose and throat passageways allow microorganisms to get into our airways and infect the air sacs of our lungs.
Respiratory syncytial virus is a virus often found in children with pneumonia who are 5 years old or younger. Children younger than 1 year old have an increased risk of pneumonia if they are exposed to secondhand smoke. The following conditions can make children more likely to get pneumonia from microorganisms:
- Compromised immune system
- Chronic health issues like cystic fibrosis or asthma
- Lung or airway problems
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Doctor’s Notes On Viral Pneumonia
Viral pneumonia is an infection of the lung by a viral type or strain. Signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia common to most viral lung infections include low fever , coughing up some mucus, tiredness, and muscle aches. Severe viral infection signs and symptoms may include persistent cough, shortness of breath, severe chest pain and weakness, coughing up blood, vomiting, dehydration, and an inability to eat or drink. Severe infections of some viruses like influenza A type H1N1 may cause death in some patients.
Causes of most viral pneumonias can be influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus , adenovirus, parainfluenza, and rarely, varicella viruses. Occasionally, outbreaks occur with other viruses, such as COVID-19.
What Is the Treatment for Viral Pneumonia?
For most viral pneumonias, there are no treatments that directly target the virus . If the virus is a flu virus, an antiviral drug like oseltamivir, zanamivir , or peramivir may reduce the length and severity of the disease. If RSV viruses are causing the illness, ribavirin may limit the spread of the illness. Supportive treatments depend on the severity of infection:
- Oxygen by nasal cannula