Take Steps To Protect Yourself And Others
The following steps can help you prevent spreading the infection to others around you.
- Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Get rid of used tissues right away.
- Limit contact with family and friends.
- Wash your hands often, especially after coughing and sneezing.
Some people get pneumonia again and again. Tell your doctor if this happens. Return to Prevention to find more strategies to help prevent pneumonia.
What We’ve Learned About Managing Covid
How we now treat COVID-19 pneumonia compared to 12 months ago makes a significant difference to survival.
Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have made significant advancements in effectively managing COVID-19 induced pneumonia.
“When the COVID-19 outbreak first occurred, we were seeing catastrophic outcomes in patients who were admitted to hospital with rapidly progressive pneumonia. Unfortunately, the treatments that were used empiricallyinitiallywere not effective, and really had no modifying effect on the evolution of COVID-19 pneumonia,” said Conjoint Professor at UNSW Medicine & Health Christine Jenkins.
Professor Jenkins, who is Head of the Respiratory Group at the George Institute for Global Health, explained most people at that time died from respiratory failure. No matter what strategy was implemented, it was not possible to get enough oxygen into the individual’s system and maintain it.
“That’s because when people developed severe pneumonia from COVID-19, their lungs become filled with fluid and inflammatory cells, and some blood vessels developed clots, so the oxygeneven when it was driven in by mechanical ventilationjust couldn’t get through that inflammatory process. The membranes in the lung were very swollen, so people died from respiratory failure.
What we now know about managing COVID-19 pneumonia
Lung disease and COVID-19 pneumonia
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
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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
What’s The Link Between Covid
A quick refresher first: COVID-19 is a serious respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. It can lead to a range of intense symptoms, including a cough, fever, trouble breathing, and loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Pneumonia is an infection of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people, the CDC says.
Some patients with COVID-19 develop pneumoniain fact, the World Health Organization first called the virus -infected pneumonia , before shortening the name to COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was also first identified in Wuhan, China due to cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology,” or unknown cause, the WHO reported in January 2020.
It’s not uncommon to develop pneumonia as the result of any virus, Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells Health. In the case of COVID-19, the virus can damage your alveoli and cause fluid to build in your lungs as your body fights the infection, he explains. That can also lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome , which is a serious form of respiratory failure that makes the alveoli fill with fluid. “The immune system starts attacking the lung itself, which results in ARDS,” Dr. Casciari says.
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Types Of Antibiotics For Pneumonia
There are multiple types of antibiotics that work in slightly different ways. Some are more commonly used to treat pneumonia than others based on things like:
- The bacteria causing infection
- The severity of the infection
- If youre in a patient group at greatest risk from pneumonia
The types of antibiotics that your doctor might typically prescribe for pneumonia include the following:
Antibiotics prescribed for children with pneumonia include the following:
- Infants, preschoolers, and school-aged children with suspected bacterial pneumonia may be treated with amoxicillin.
- Children with suspected atypical pneumonia can be treated with macrolides.
- Children allergic to penicillin will be treated with other antibiotics as needed for the specific pathogen.
- Hospitalized, immunized children can be treated with ampicillin or penicillin G.
- Hospitalized children and infants who are not fully vaccinated may be treated with a cephalosporin.
- Hospitalized children with suspected M. pneumoniae or C. pneumoniae infection may be treated with combination therapy of a macrolide and a beta-lactam antibiotic .
- Hospitalized children with suspected S. aureus infections might be treated with a combination of Vancocin or clindamycin and a beta-lactam.
Problems That Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine
- People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you or your child:
- Feel dizzy
- Have vision changes
- Have ringing in the ears
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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.
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed And Evaluated
Your primary doctor will begin by asking you about your medical history and symptoms. You will also undergo a physical exam, so that your doctor can listen to your lungs. In checking for pneumonia, your doctor will listen for abnormal sounds like crackling, rumbling or wheezing. If your doctor thinks you may have pneumonia, an imaging test may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
One or more of the following tests may be ordered to evaluate for pneumonia:
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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.
Medical History And Physical Exam
- Exposure to sick people at home, school, or work or in a hospital
- Flu or pneumonia vaccinations
- Exposure to birds and other animals
During your physical exam, your doctor will check your temperature and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope.
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What Is Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae . People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
- Brain and spinal cord tissue
Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death. You can find a full list of symptoms for each part of the body that is affected on the symptoms and complications of pneumococcal disease page.
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
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How Do Dogs Get Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air sacs of the lungs. These air sacs may fill with fluid or pus, which causes the difficulty breathing and coughing associated with the disease. Pneumonia in dogs can have different causes:
- Viral or bacterial Infectious pneumonia is the most prevalent type of pneumonia in dogs. It is caused by a viral or bacterial infection in the respiratory tract.
- Breathing in foreign material Aspiration pneumonia occurs when a dog breathes something into their lungs. Two common reasons this could happen is if a dog throws up and breathes in some of the vomit or if they inhale liquid medication while it is being administered.
- Fungus This form of pneumonia is typically caused by an inhalation of spores, which can spread through the body and cause an infection. It typically develops over time and is characterized by a moist cough and thick nasal discharge.
Pleural Effusion Empyema And Abscess
In pneumonia, a collection of fluid may form in the space that surrounds the lung. Occasionally, microorganisms will infect this fluid, causing an empyema. To distinguish an empyema from the more common simple parapneumonic effusion, the fluid may be collected with a needle , and examined. If this shows evidence of empyema, complete drainage of the fluid is necessary, often requiring a drainage catheter. In severe cases of empyema, surgery may be needed. If the infected fluid is not drained, the infection may persist, because antibiotics do not penetrate well into the pleural cavity. If the fluid is sterile, it must be drained only if it is causing symptoms or remains unresolved.
In rare circumstances, bacteria in the lung will form a pocket of infected fluid called a lung abscess. Lung abscesses can usually be seen with a chest X-ray but frequently require a chest CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. Abscesses typically occur in aspiration pneumonia, and often contain several types of bacteria. Long-term antibiotics are usually adequate to treat a lung abscess, but sometimes the abscess must be drained by a surgeon or radiologist.
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Pneumonia Symptoms In Elders
Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs. There can be swelling or fluid in the air sacs. This can cause trouble with breathing as well as affect energy levels and overall health.
If your loved one is sick, the signs of pneumonia include:
Causes And Risk Factors Of Pneumonia
How do you get pneumonia? The majority of the germs that cause infection are spread from person to person through droplets, from coughing or sneezing.
- A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus or cancer
People who smoke are at higher risk for pneumonia, as are people on immunosuppressive medications, and people who are frequently in close, crowded spaces with others, such as college students and military personnel.
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Complications Caused By Pneumonia
Pneumonia can sometimes have complications. They include:
- pleurisy where the pleura, the thin linings between your lungs and ribcage, become inflamed, leading to chest pain. If you have pleurisy, you are more likely to develop fluid on the lungs.
- fluid on the lungs – about 1 in 10 people with pneumonia develop fluid around the lung, called a pleural effusion which can become infected. This may require a sample of the fluid to be taken by inserting a needle between the ribs under local anaesthetic, and if infected is likely to need a longer course of antibiotics. Occasionally, a tube is inserted into the lung to remove fluid as well.
- a lung abscess a rare complication thats mostly seen in people with a serious pre-existing illness or history of alcohol misuse.
- blood poisoning, also called septicaemia – this is where infection spreads from the lungs to the blood stream. This can cause low blood pressure and a severe illness that might need intensive care treatment.
- respiratory failure this is where pneumonia causes low levels of oxygen in the blood even in people given oxygen. This might also require intensive care treatment.
The vast majority of people recover from pneumonia and return to good health. However, pneumonia can be very serious and some people with severe pneumonia dont survive, despite the best available care. Those who are elderly or have other health problems are most at risk of severe or fatal pneumonia.
Pneumonia Treatment In The Bay Area
The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and clear the infection. If your pneumonia is severe, you may need to stay in a Dignity Health hospital while you receive treatment. Common treatments for pneumonia include:
- Antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia
- Bronchodilators to help ease breathing
- Fluids to ease congestion and prevent dehydration
- Pain relievers and fever reducers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Rest to help your body have more energy to fight the pneumonia
- Supplemental oxygen therapy
In cases of bacterial pneumonia, your doctor may order a sputum test or blood culture to determine the specific type of bacteria responsible for the infection. This can help determine the most effective type of antibiotic for treatment.
Reach out to a Dignity Health doctor today to find the care you need. Dignity Health offers personal care for pneumonia in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.
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