Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
Pneumonia In Lung Cancer Patients
Pneumonia in lung cancer is incredibly common. Research has found that of all patients battling lung cancer, as many as 70% will also have pneumonia.
Bacterial pneumonia is associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. Research found that people who have had pneumonia before were over three times as likely to develop lung cancer compared to people who never had pneumonia.
Research has also shown that when people have both diseases at the same time, their likelihood of survival decreases significantly. This can lead to complications, such as:
- Lung abscess: A lung abscess occurs when dead lung tissue turns into a liquid, mainly pus.
- Empyema:Empyema occurs when pockets of pus start to collect in the space between the lungs and the chest cavity, otherwise known as the pleural cavity.
- Fistula formation: A fistula is a hole or opening that can form between the bronchithe large airways within the lungsand the pleural cavity.
Pneumonia is the second leading cause of death in lung cancer patients.
How Are Pneumonia Complications Treated
Complications may be more common in pneumonia that starts after stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs, a type of condition called aspiration pneumonia.
Another dangerous variation is necrotizing pneumonia, a bacterial pneumonia that can result from a large number of pathogens, including staphylococcus.
Complicated pneumonias such as these may result in respiratory failure, which requires assisted breathing with a machine called a ventilator.
In rare but severe cases, a pocket of pus called a lung abscess can form inside or around the lung due to causes that include aspiration and bacterial or fungal infections.
If you have complicated pneumonia, you may need to undergo a procedure to drain the lung or remove diseased lung tissue. Your doctor may refer to this procedure as “lung scraping.”
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How Can I Help Myself Feel Better
If your doctor has prescribed medicine, follow the directions carefully.
You may feel better in a room with a humidifier, which increases the moisture in the air and soothes irritated lungs. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever. If you have a fever and feel uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring it down. But don’t take any medicine without checking first with your doctor a cough suppressant, for example, may not allow your lungs to clear themselves of mucus.
And finally, be sure to rest. This is a good time to sleep, watch TV, read, and lay low. If you treat your body right, it will repair itself and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
Cost Of Antimicrobial Therapy
Economic pressures have accentuated the focus on reducing health care costs and utilizing resources while maintaining or improving quality of care.31 These pressures are exacerbated by the growing resistance of S. pneumoniae to penicillin.31,32 This pattern of resistance increases the cost of treatment because of prolonged hospitalization, relapses, and the use of more expensive antibacterial agents.3337
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Cough is a common symptom. You may also feel generally unwell and have a high temperature . Other symptoms you may notice include:
- Loss of appetite
All these symptoms are also seen in flu so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose pneumonia in the early stages. See the separate leaflet called Influenza and Flu-like Illness for further details.
Coughing up a lot of phlegm is more likely to happen in pneumonia than in flu. The phlegm may become yellow-coloured or green-coloured. It may be streaked with blood or you may cough up more significant amounts of blood.
You may become short of breath, start breathing faster than normal and develop a tight chest. A sharp pain in the side of the chest may develop if the infection involves the pleura. The pleura is the membrane between the lung and the chest wall. A doctor may hear crackles when listening to your chest with a stethoscope.
Types Of Antibiotics For Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that affects the lower part of the respiratory system, primarily the lungs or the bronchi.
The bronchi are the air passages that connect the lungs to the windpipe.
Because pneumonia causes the air sacs in your lungs fill with pus and fluid, pneumonia can make it harder to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
Pneumonia is typically caused by a virus or bacterial infection.
Sometimes fungal infections can lead to pneumonia, but that is rarer, and typically occurs in people with weak immune systems due to other diseases.
Viral pneumonia will often resolve on its own, though it still frequently requires medical care for supportive treatment.
If your pneumonia is caused by a virus, antibiotics wont help unless there is also a secondary bacterial infection.
If you have bacterial pneumonia, you will need antibiotics to prevent complications and to help your body clear the infection.
Even with antibiotics, it can still take 4-6 weeks to recover from bacterial pneumonia.
Most bacterial pneumonia that is community-acquired comes from the bacteriaStreptococcus pneumoniae.
There are several different antibiotics are effective at treating this bacterial infection.
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Can I Prevent Pneumonia
The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.
People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.
Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.
Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.
You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.
Why It Is Important To Do This Review
In clinical practice, use of corticosteroids for people with pneumonia remains variable. Current guidelines do not address corticosteroids in the standard management of people with CAP, HAP, HCAP, or VAP . An exception is the British guidelines, which state that “… steroids are not recommended in the routine treatment of high severity CAP” .
The 2011 version of this Cochrane Review showed that corticosteroids were beneficial for accelerating the time to resolution of symptoms with no effect on mortality for most people with pneumonia . Since then, several relatively large randomised controlled trials assessing the role of corticosteroids for people with pneumonia have been published. Combining data from all relevant trials may lead to more definitive conclusions, particularly whether the effects of corticosteroids could be patientspecific. Compiling all existing studies might allow for the assessment of corticosteroid effects for specific patient subgroups with pneumonia. For this update we revised the protocol, inclusion criteria, and analyses and reextracted all data. We have reported deviations from the original review, , in the section of this update.
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How Do You Diagnose Pneumonia
- Symptoms – a doctor will suspect pneumonia from asking about your symptoms and how you are feeling. They may also ask about your medical history and that of your family. They will be interested in whether you smoke, how much and for how long. The examination may include checking your temperature. Sometimes your doctor will check how much oxygen is circulating around your body. This is done with a small device that sits on the end of your finger. The doctor will listen to your chest, so they may want you to lift or take off your top. If you want a chaperone during the examination, the doctor will arrange one. If you have asthma, they may ask you to check your peak flow measurement. They will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. Tapping your chest over the infected lung is also sometimes performed. This is called percussion. An area of infected lung may sound dull.
- X-ray – a chest X-ray may be required to confirm the diagnosis and to see how serious the infection is.
- Other tests – these tests are usually carried out if you need to be admitted to hospital. They include sending a sample of phlegm for analysis and blood cultures to check if the infection has spread to your blood.
How Your Healthcare Provider Chooses
Your healthcare provider will only prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis if they think bacteria are causing your symptoms and youre at high risk of the infection not resolving on its own.
If a virus causes your bronchitis, they wont give you antibiotics because the antibiotics wouldnt do anything. If youre young and generally healthy, they probably wont prescribe anything either.
A Cochrane report last updated in 2017 found little evidence that antibiotics help acute bronchitis in healthy people, but recommended further study for patients that are elderly, frail, or have other conditions that may make bronchitis worse.
When considering treatment, your healthcare provider will look at:
- If youve had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic in the past
- Other health conditions, like autoimmune diseases, heart conditions, and lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Your history with smoking or vaping
- The oxygen levels in your blood
If your practitioner decides to prescribe an antibiotic, the treatment they choose will be based on your medical history, personal details, symptoms, diagnosis, and test results.
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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.
Relief For Your Symptoms
Pneumonia wonât go away overnight. You might need anywhere from a week to a month to get better. Depending on the kind of pneumonia you have, your doctor may prescribe a drug that fights bacteria or a drug that fights viruses to help you get better. While youâre waiting for that to work, there are a bunch of ways you can ease the coughing, aches, and fever.
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What Are The Best Antibiotics For Pneumonia
When a person contracts pneumonia, the air sacs in one or both lungs, called alveoli, fill with pus or fluid.
This fluid can make it difficult to breathe. While pneumonia can be mild, it can also cause severe illness, especially in young children, older adults, and those with other medical problems.
In 2019, more than 40,000 Americans died of pneumonia.
Pneumonia happnes when a virus or bacteria thats living in your bodyin your nose, sinuses, or mouth, for examplespreads into your lungs.
You may also directly breathe the virus or bacteria into your lungs, triggering pneumonia.
Pneumonia is typically caused by viruses or bacteria.
Antibiotics wont help with viral pneumonia.
Bacterial pneumonia is more common, and usually more severe, and can sometimes occur secondary to a viral infection.
If your doctor suspects that you have bacterial pneumonia, they will treat you with antibiotics.
In this article, Ill explain how pneumonia is diagnosed, and when and how its treated with antibiotics.
Ill also talk about when pneumonia requires hospitalization.
Ill also tell you when you should talk to your doctor to see if a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or other upper respiratory symptoms could be pneumonia.
What Factors Influence Decisions On Antibiotic Duration
Several factors are considered when both choosing an antibiotic to treat a suspected case of bacterial pneumonia and determining how long it should be given. These include: clinical presentation and severity assumed bacterial aetiology based upon the childs age, vaccination status, underlying co-morbidities and the local pathogen antibiotic susceptibility profiles and cost, availability, tolerability, and ease of administration of the chosen agent that may influence treatment adherence.
In clinical practice, the optimal duration of antibiotic treatment depends upon whether the pneumonia is straightforward or complicated if underlying medical disorders are present the nature of the causative pathogen, adequacy of source control, and the patients response to treatment.
In uncomplicated pneumonia the advantages of a short-treatment course include a lower risk of developing antibiotic resistance, improved adherence, fewer adverse effects, and decreased costs . The main danger though of shortened therapy in young children is treatment failure from delayed or incomplete eradication of the infecting pathogen, risking additional morbidity and injury to the developing lungs and possibly a greater chance of impaired lung function, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis later in life .
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What To Expect At Home
You will still have symptoms of pneumonia after you leave the hospital.
- Your cough will slowly get better over 7 to 14 days.
- Sleeping and eating may take up to a week to return to normal.
- Your energy level may take 2 weeks or more to return to normal.
You will need to take time off work. For a while, you might not be able to do other things that you are used to doing.
How Can I Recover From Pneumonia Faster
Drink warm beverages, take steamy baths and use a humidifier to help open your airways and ease your breathing. Contact your doctor right away if your breathing gets worse instead of better over time. Stay away from smoke to let your lungs heal. This includes smoking, secondhand smoke and wood smoke.
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How Your Doctor Chooses
Your doctor will select the right antibiotic for you based on multiple factors, including:
- Your age: People 65 and older have a greater risk of serious complications from pneumonia infections.
- Your health history: A history of smoking, lung diseases, or other conditions may influence a person’s ability to fight off infections.
- The exact infection you have: Your doctor may take a sample and test it for bacteria. They can then pick an antibiotic based on your specific infection.
- Your previous experiences with antibiotics: Make sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, had bad reactions to antibiotics in the past, or have developed an antibacterial-resistant infection.
- The antibiotic sensitivity of the bacteria: The lab will test the bacteria causing your pneumonia to determine which antibiotics it is sensitive or resistant to.
Doctors typically choose your antibiotics prescription based on what medicines they think will be most effective and cause the fewest side effects.
What About Hospital Treatment
Hospital admission may be advised if you have severe pneumonia, or if symptoms do not quickly improve after you have started antibiotic treatment. Also, you are more likely to be treated in hospital if you are already in poor health, or if an infection with a more serious infecting germ is suspected. For example, if infection with Legionella pneumophila is suspected. Even if you are in hospital, you are likely to be offered antibiotics in capsule, tablet or liquid form unless you have difficulties taking them, in which case they may be given through a vein. Your antibiotic treatment will be stopped after five days, unless you are very unwell.
Sometimes oxygen and other supportive treatments are needed if you have severe pneumonia. Those who become severely unwell may need treatment in an intensive care unit.
When you return home, even though the infection is treated, you may feel tired and unwell for some time.
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