Pneumonia is a breathing condition in which there is an infection of the lung. Anyone can get pneumonia. It’s commonly a complication of a respiratory infection. Older adults, children and people with chronic disease, including COPD and asthma, are at high risk for pneumonia.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
• Shortness of breath
• Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is acquired outside of the health-care setting and is typically less severe than hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP).
Pneumonia is a common illness that affects millions of people each year in the United States. Germs called bacteria, viruses, and fungi may cause pneumonia. In adults, bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia.
Ways you can get pneumonia include:
• Bacteria and viruses living in your nose, sinuses, or mouth may spread to your lungs.
• You may breathe some of these germs directly into your lungs.
• You breathe in (inhale) food, liquids, vomit, or fluids from the mouth into your lungs
• Pneumonia can be caused by many types of germs.
• The most common type of bacteria is Streptococcus pneumoniae .
• A typical pneumonia, often called walking pneumonia, is caused by other bacteria.
• A fungus called Pneumocystis jiroveci can cause pneumonia in people whose immune system is not working well, especially people with advanced HIV infection.
• Viruses, such as the flu virus, are also a common cause of pneumonia.
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, the germ causing your infection, and how severe your pneumonia is. Most people who have community-acquired pneumonia—the most common type of pneumonia—are treated at home. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications.
Bacterial pneumonia is treated with medicines called antibiotics. You should take antibiotics as your doctor prescribes. You may start to feel better before you finish the medicine, but you should continue taking it as prescribed. If you stop too soon, the pneumonia may come back.
Most people begin to improve after one to three days of antibiotic treatment. This means that they should feel better and have fewer symptoms such as cough and fever.
Antibiotics don’t work when the cause of pneumonia is a virus. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat it. Viral pneumonia usually improves in one to three weeks.
Treating severe symptoms
You may need to be treated in a hospital if:
• Your symptoms are severe
• You’re at risk for complications because of other health problems
If the level of oxygen in your bloodstream is low, you may receive oxygen therapy. If you have bacterial pneumonia, your doctor may give you antibiotics through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into a vein.
General treatment advice and follow-up care:
If you have pneumonia, follow your treatment plan, take all medicines as prescribed, and get follow-up medical care.