An infectious inflammation of air sacs in one or both lungs, which makes it difficult to breath, is called pneumonia. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Pneumonia symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the condition and age of the patient. Pneumonia treatment is usually performed with medications and also depends on multiple factors. More detailed information about this condition, its symptoms, diagnosis and pneumonia treatment options is presented below.
As stated above, pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
Is is condition dangerous?
It can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is normally more serious in:
- Young children
- People older than age 65
- People with health problems or weakened immune systems
The symptoms may vary from mild to severe. It depends on factors like the type of bacteria that’s causing the infection, your age and overall health. Signs and symptoms that are mild are often similar to those of a cold or flu. However, they last longer. Signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Cough (may produce phlegm)
- Chest pain when breathing or coughing
- Breath shortness
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
PNEUMONIA TREATMENT OPTIONS
Specific treatments for this disease will depend on the type and severity of your condition, your age and your overall health. The options are:
These antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. It may take some time to identify the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia and to pick the best antibiotic for treatment. Your doctor may recommend a different antibiotic if your symptoms don’t improve.
Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to treat pneumonia.
May be used to calm your cough so that you will be able to rest. It’s a good idea not to eliminate your cough completely as coughing helps loosen and move fluid from your lungs.
Hospitalization may be required if:
- You’re older than 65 years old
- You become confused about time, people or places
- You experience nausea and vomiting (prevent you from keeping down oral antibiotics)
- Your blood pressure drops
- Your breathing is rapid
- You require breathing assistance
- Your temperature is below normal
- Your heart rate is below 50 or higher than 100 (you may be admitted to the intensive care unit if you need to be placed on a breathing machine)
Children may be hospitalized if they:
- Are 2 months old or younger
- Are excessively sleepy
- Have problem breathing
- Have low blood oxygen levels
- Appear dehydrated
- Have temperature that’s below normal
HOW IS PNEUMONIA DIAGNOSED?
- History taking and physical examination: Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope to examine for abnormal bubbling or crackling sounds that may indicate the presence of secretions.
- Chest X-ray: To diagnose this disease and to determine the extent and location of the infection. However, it won’t be able to tell what type of bacteria is causing the pneumonia.
- Blood tests: To confirm infection and to try to identify the type of bacteria that’s causing the infection. Having that said, precise identification isn’t always possible.
- Pulse oximetry: To measure oxygen level in your blood. It can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test: A sputum sample from your lungs is taken after a deep cough and will be analyzed to help pinpoint the exact cause of the infection.
- Bronchoscopy: Patients who present initially with severe pneumonia or who fail to improve or worsen during their hospitalization despite treatment with antibiotics may require further testing with bronchoscopy. In this procedure, a physician uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera to view the trachea and bronchi (the tube between the trachea and lungs). This allows them to look directly at the lungs, collect fluid samples or a biopsy (a small tissue sample), and determine whether there is an underlying cause of infection, such as a growth or inhaled foreign body.