Pneumonia is an infection of one or
both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It is a serious infection in
which the air sacs fill with pus and other liquid.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and they’re grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are:
Anyone can get pneumonia. But the
following groups are at the highest risk:
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:
Early symptoms of viral pneumonia are the same as those of bacterial pneumonia, which may be followed by:
Mycoplasma pneumonia has somewhat
different symptoms. These include a severe cough that may produce mucus.
Diagnosis is often made based on
your recent health history such as surgery, a cold, or travel exposures. Your healthcare
provider will also note the extent of the illness. Based on these factors, your provider
may diagnose pneumonia simply on a thorough history and physical exam. These tests may
be used to confirm the diagnosis:
Treatment depends on the type of
pneumonia you have. Most of the time, pneumonia is treated at home. But severe cases may
be treated in the hospital. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics
may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral
pneumonias don’t have specific treatment. They often get better on their own.
Other treatment may include eating well, increasing fluid intake, getting rest, oxygen therapy, pain medicine, fever control, and maybe cough-relief medicine if cough is severe.
Check with your healthcare provider
about getting vaccines. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. So getting a flu shot
every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.
There are also 2 pneumococcal
vaccines. They will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children
younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get a shot.
The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and
adults who are at greater risk for pneumococcal disease because of other health
Most people with pneumonia respond
well to treatment. But pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.
You are more likely to have
complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune
system, or have a serious health problem such as diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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