Double pneumonia is technically not an official medical term. Double pneumonia – or bilateral pneumonia as it is sometimes called – is simply a way of describing an infection in both lungs. This infection can be caused by a bacteria, virus, or fungus that fills the air sacs in your lungs with fluid or pus. Most people with pneumonia will most likely have been exposed to pneumococcal bacteria or an influenza virus.
When a person gets pneumonia, it can affect anywhere from a small part of one lung to large parts of both lungs. When pneumonia affects both lungs, it is significantly more serious than pneumonia affecting only one lung. When you have pneumonia in one lung, your healthy lung can compensate while the lung with pneumonia recovers. However, when you have bilateral pneumonia, you don’t have the luxury of having a good lung to take over. It puts you in a more delicate state.
Symptoms of Double Pneumonia
It doesn’t matter if you have pneumonia in one lung or in both lungs; the symptoms are still the same.
- Productive cough
- Blue or purple lips or fingernails
- Confusion (seen more often in people over 65)
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- extreme tiredness
- Pulse increase
- Sharp, stabbing chest pains when breathing or coughing
If you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, an incessant, continuous cough, or a fever over 102°F that is not easily controlled, it is best to call your primary care physician for an appointment. -you. These symptoms indicate a more serious infection that may cause a more serious chronic disease such as:
- Renal failure
- maybe death
Every case of pneumonia is different, and everyone’s body reacts differently to infections. While some people will feel better in a week or two, some people may have symptoms that persist for three to six months.
People with serious underlying medical conditions are more likely to suffer from severe forms of pneumonia. This, in turn, makes recovering from pneumonia a more complicated process. Not only will they take longer to recover, but pneumonia can also become a recurring condition.
Since pneumonia, especially bilateral interstitial pneumonia, can quickly become life-threatening, it’s crucial to see a doctor if you don’t feel any improvement or start to feel worse. Most importantly, seek emergency care if you have trouble breathing at any time.
With timely medical care, most people will recover successfully from bilateral pneumonia.
Pneumonia is usually caused by one of three things:
It’s also possible to get pneumonia if food, liquids, or things other than air somehow get into your lungs. This is called aspiration pneumonia.
Some people are at a higher risk of getting pneumonia due to their age or underlying health conditions. Some risk factors for double pneumonia include:
- Be less than 2 years old
- Be over 65
- to be malnourished
- Smoking and people exposed to excessive second-hand smoke
- Have a chronic condition such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, and heart disease
- Have a lung disease such as COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma
- Those who have difficulty swallowing due to stroke or other neurological conditions
- People who have recently had a cold or flu
- Those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse
When you visit your primary care doctor or local emergency room for symptoms of pneumonia, they will start by listening to your lungs with a stethoscope. With this stethoscope, your healthcare provider will listen to:
- By clicking
- Clicking noises
They will also place a device called a pulse oximeter on your finger to see how much oxygen is circulating in your body. When you’re perfectly healthy, your oxygen levels are in the very high 90s, probably around 98 to 99 at some point. When you’re sick, however, that number starts to dip into the low to mid-90s or even lower.
Suppose your health care provider sees a low oxygen saturation reading on the pulse oximeter and hears crackles in your lungs. In this case, they will know that you probably have pneumonia at this stage.
Suppose they question the severity of your pneumonia or your response to treatment. In this case, your health care provider may suggest getting an X-ray or lab tests. Often the x-ray will confirm what they hear with their stethoscope and indicate pneumonia in one or both lungs.
When the health care provider orders laboratory tests, the goal is to determine which organism is causing the infection. This way they can see if it is better to treat you with a new or different medicine or if something else is going on.
The treatment of bilateral pneumonia depends on many factors. To start, your practitioner will want to know if it is viral, bacterial, or fungal pneumonia. From there they will look at the severity, which with double pneumonia is often quite severe.
If you get bacterial pneumonia, chances are it will respond to an antibiotic like amoxicillin or azithromycin. However, when it comes to viral pneumonia, there is not much that healthcare providers can do in terms of medication. With viral pneumonia, your practitioner will focus on helping relieve symptoms. They will often recommend the basics: plenty of rest and staying hydrated.
Oxygen and hospital stays
In some cases of viral pneumonia, your healthcare provider will put you on oxygen. In more severe cases, they may recommend a hospital stay and a procedure to remove fluid from your lungs by suction.
Most people will find comfort with some basic personal care when they are sick. Some recommendations include:
Drink plenty of fluids
Staying hydrated is essential to your recovery from pneumonia. Many people will benefit from a drink containing electrolytes such as Gatorade or Pedialyte.
It may also be worth trying peppermint tea. Peppermint tea seems to help clear mucus, reduce inflammation, and soothe sore throats.
Use a humidifier
Humidifiers are great for helping to keep your airways open, allowing you to breathe a little easier. Humidifiers also keep your skin from drying out, so the liquids you drink can spend more time working on your cough and less time keeping your skin from drying out.
Get plenty of rest
Rest is crucial for any illness, but especially pneumonia. Rest is not just about sleeping; it is also about reducing the daily tasks for which you are responsible. It can be helpful to find someone who can cook meals for you or deliver meals to you. Maybe they can also help with laundry and other basic household chores. Getting help cleaning will also prevent you from directly breathing in cleaning chemicals that could irritate your lungs.
A word from VeryWell
Pneumonia is a common infection in children and adults. Although it can be an easily treatable disease if caught early, lifelong chronic problems occur in some people.
When it comes to recovering from bilateral pneumonia, it is important to follow your health care provider’s instructions, take your medications on time, get enough rest, drink plenty of fluids, and most importantly , not to force yourself to get better faster. While everyone is more than ready to feel better when they’re sick, pushing yourself too hard can set you back even further when it comes to pneumonia.
And remember, never hesitate to contact your primary care provider if you have any concerns while recovering from double pneumonia.