April 2020

Pneumonia symptoms

What is pneumonia? Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

How do you get pneumonia? Most of the germs that cause infection are passed from person to person through droplets, coughing or sneezing.

Young children and people over 65 are most vulnerable to pneumonia, notes the Mayo Clinic. (4)

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), you are also at a higher risk for pneumonia if you have any of the following conditions: (5)

People who smoke are also at a much higher risk of pneumonia, regardless of their age, and the disease is more likely to afflict men and African Americans.

People who are in frequent close contact with others, such as students and military personnel, are also more susceptible to the disease.

RELATED: 10 Pneumonia Related Terms You Need To Know

What types of pneumonia are there?

The severity of the infection depends on many factors, including your age and general health.

“Many aspects of the treatment, as well as the results, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have,” says Dr. Barron. “Sometimes you will be fine with rest, but if you have difficulty breathing you should see a doctor immediately. “

Your doctors will try to categorize your type of pneumonia to help guide your treatment.

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of pneumonia:

Community acquired pneumonia

Also known as PAC, it is the most common form of pneumonia because you can get it in public places, such as at school or at work. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, according to the National Library of Medicine. (6)

You can also develop CAP after getting a common viral infection, such as a cold or the flu.

The disease ranges from mild to severe and, if left untreated, can lead to respiratory failure or death.

Bacterial CAP is generally more serious than other types and is more common in adults. Atypical pneumonia, often called foot pneumonia, is a milder form often caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Symptoms of walking pneumonia include a sore throat, a persistent dry cough, fatigue, headache and fever, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (7)

Viral and bacterial pneumonia share some common signs, but doctors can sometimes tell them apart by a patient’s symptoms.

Various types of bacteria can be responsible for the disease. In most cases, the bacteria enter the lungs when inhaled and then travel into the bloodstream, potentially causing damage to other organs and systems in the body.

Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcal pneumonia, can be treated with antibiotics. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many types of bacteria, some of which S. pneumoniae (pneumococcus), are resistant to these antibiotics, which can lead to treatment failures. (8) Pneumococcal pneumonia causes approximately 150,000 hospitalizations per year in the United States.

You can also have a pneumococcal infection without having pneumonia. For example, pneumococcal infections also cause more than three million ear infections in children each year.

Risk factors for bacterial CAP include:

  • Have an underlying lung disease, such as asthma or COPD
  • Have a systemic disease, such as diabetes
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Being very young or very old
  • Be disabled
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking

Depending on your condition and whether or not you have other health problems, your doctor may treat you for suspected bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics at home or in the hospital.

Viral CAP, especially respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is the most common cause of pneumonia in children under one year of age, according to the CDC. (9)

Although viral pneumonia is generally less severe than bacterial pneumonia, viral infections caused by certain influenza viruses, such as H1N1, and coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), can be very serious.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Pandemic

Antibiotics are ineffective against viral pneumonia. Your doctor will most likely treat the symptoms – fever, cough, and dehydration.

You or your child may need to be hospitalized if your symptoms of viral pneumonia get worse.

Fungal CAP is more common in people with an underlying health problem or weakened immune system, including people with HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and people undergoing cancer treatment. (5)

Getting vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia reduces the risk of CAP.

Nosocomial pneumonia

As the name suggests, this develops during a hospital stay for a different health problem. People who use machines to help them breathe are particularly susceptible to developing hospital acquired pneumonia.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia usually needs to be treated in hospital with intravenous antibiotics.

Aspiration pneumonia

It can develop after a person inhales food, liquids, gases, or dust.

A strong gag reflex or cough will usually prevent aspiration pneumonia, but you may be at risk if you have trouble swallowing or if your level of alertness decreases.

A form of aspiration pneumonia, chemical or toxin-related pneumonia, is caused by inhaling chemical fumes, for example from exposure to a mixture of ammonia and bleach, or by inhaling kerosene or another harmful chemical.

This type of pneumonia can also occur in older people with poor swallowing mechanisms, such as stroke victims, who can actually inhale the acidic contents of their stomachs, causing aspiration pneumonia.

This causes inflammation without bacterial infection. These pneumonia can sometimes be difficult to treat, especially because the patients are sicker to begin with.

After your lungs have been irritated by inhaling food or stomach contents, a bacterial infection may develop.

Some conditions that may put you at risk for aspiration pneumonia include:

Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include coughing, increased sputum, fever, confusion, and shortness of breath.

Treatment may include respiratory support and intravenous antibiotics given in the hospital.

You can prevent complications by not eating or drinking before surgery, working with a therapist to learn how to swallow without sucking, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.

Opportunistic infection

Finally, pneumonia that develops in people with weakened immune systems is often referred to as an opportunistic infection.

You are more at risk of getting this type of pneumonia if you have chronic lung disease, have HIV or AIDS, or have had an organ transplant.

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Pneumonia prevention

Hospital Acquired Pneumonia Prevention Market Expected To Be Huge

Hospital Acquired Pneumonia Prevention Market

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Manufacturer Detail:
Halyard health
Sage LLC Products
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Medline Industries

Segmentation by product type
Oral care kit

Industry segmentation
Rehabilitation centers
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Pneumonia symptoms

Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and complications

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can range from mild to so severe that you need to go to the hospital.

This happens when an infection causes the air sacs in your lungs (your doctor will call them alveoli) to fill with fluid or pus. This can prevent you from inhaling enough oxygen to reach your bloodstream.

Anyone can get this lung infection. But infants under 2 and people over 65 are at greater risk. This is because their immune system may not be strong enough to fight it off.

You can get pneumonia in one or both lungs. You can also have it and not know it. Doctors call it walking pneumonia. The causes include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus, you can pass it on to someone else.

Lifestyle habits, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol, can also increase your chances of getting pneumonia.

Symptoms of pneumonia

Your symptoms may vary depending on the cause of your pneumonia, your age, and your general health. They usually develop over several days.

Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Cough that produces phlegm or mucus
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite
  • Fever, sweating and chills
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

Along with these symptoms, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may be confused or have changes in their mental awareness, or they may have a lower than normal body temperature.

Newborns and infants may not show any signs of infection. Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, and appear restless or tired.

If you have a new cough, fever, or shortness of breath, call your doctor to find out if it could be COVID-19. Illness with the new coronavirus can also lead to pneumonia.

Causes of pneumonia

Bacteria, viruses or fungi can cause pneumonia.

Common causes include:

  • Influenza virus
  • Cold virus
  • RSV virus (the main cause of pneumonia in babies 1 year or younger)
  • The bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Some people in hospital get “ventilator-associated pneumonia” if they get the infection while using a ventilator, a machine that helps you breathe.

If you get pneumonia while you are in the hospital and you are not on a ventilator, it is called “hospital” pneumonia. But most people get “community-acquired pneumonia,” which means they didn’t get it in the hospital.

Diagnosis of pneumonia

Your doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms and medical history, such as whether you smoke and have been around sick people at home, at school, or at work. Then they will listen to your lungs. If you have pneumonia, they may hear crackles, bubbles, or growls when you breathe in.

If your doctor thinks you might have pneumonia, they will likely give you tests, including:

  • Blood tests to look for signs of bacterial infection
  • A chest x-ray to find the infection in your lungs and how far it has spread
  • Pulse oximetry to measure the level of oxygen in your blood
  • A sputum test to check the fluid in your lungs for the cause of an infection

If your symptoms started in the hospital or if you have other health problems, your doctor may order other tests, such as:

  • An arterial blood gas test to measure oxygen in a small amount of blood taken from one of your arteries
  • Bronchoscopy to check your airways for blockages or other problems
  • A CT scan to get a more detailed picture of your lungs
  • A culture of pleural fluid, in which the doctor takes a small amount of fluid from the tissues around your lungs to look for bacteria that can cause pneumonia

Complications of pneumonia

Pneumonia can have complications, including:

  • Bacteremia, in which bacteria spread to your blood. This can cause septic shock and organ failure.
  • Difficulty in breathing, which may mean you need to use a breathing machine while your lungs are healing.
  • Fluid build-up between the layers of tissue that line your lungs and chest cavity. This fluid can also become infected.
  • Lung abscess, when a pocket of pus forms in or around your lungs.

Treatment of pneumonia

Your doctor can tell you which treatment is right for you.

If you have bacterial pneumonia, you will be given antibiotics. Make sure you take all the medicines your doctor gives you, even if you start to feel better before you are finished.

If you have viral pneumonia, antibiotics won’t help. You will need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take fever medicine.

If your symptoms are severe or if you have other conditions that make you more likely to have complications, your doctor may send you to the hospital.

With any type of pneumonia, recovery will take time. You are going to need a lot of rest. You might need a week off from your usual routines, and you might still feel tired for a month.

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