Loading
Central Business Office: 800 Lafayette St., Camden, SC 29020Billing or Account Questions: (803) 713-8350
Patient Portal Prescription Refill Online Payments Patient Forms

Pneumonia 

Introduction
Pneumonia can be a serious life-threatening illness that needs medical attention.  Pneumonia results from germs that cause an infection in the lungs.  Many people with pneumonia are treated with prescription medication at home, but others require more intensive treatment and a hospital stay.  You can help prevent pneumonia by receiving immunization and with frequent hand washing.

Back to Top

Anatomy
Your lungs are located in the ribcage inside of your chest.  Your lungs expand and relax when you breathe.  Your body has a natural defense system, your immune system, that protects your lungs from germs to keep them healthy and functioning optimally.  Under illness or certain conditions, viral, bacterial, or fungal germs can infect the lungs, causing pneumonia.

Back to Top

Causes
Viruses, bacteria, or fungi that infect the lungs cause pneumonia.  The presence of these microorganisms creates a chain of events that result in an excess amount of fluid and inflammation in the lungs.  The excess amount of fluid and inflammation makes it difficult to breathe.

Back to Top

Symptoms

Pneumonia can cause fever, coughing, sweating, and chills.  It can cause shortness of breath, shallow breathing, fast breathing, and chest pain upon breathing.  Other symptoms of pneumonia include headache, muscle ache, loss of appetite, and fatigue.  You may cough up sputum that is green or yellow  or contains blood.  Infants with pneumonia may not cough but may make grunt-like noises.

Back to Top

Diagnosis
Your doctor can diagnose pneumonia by reviewing your medical history, conducting an exam, and evaluating test results.  Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope while you breathe.  A chest X-ray is used to show the condition of the lungs.  Blood tests and sputum cultures can help identify the cause of your pneumonia.

Back to Top

Treatment
Many people with pneumonia are treated with prescription medications at home.  The type of medication that you receive depends on the cause of your pneumonia.  For example, antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria, and antiviral medications are used for viral infections.  People with severe symptoms, complications, or other medical illnesses may be hospitalized and treated with intravenous medications and oxygen. 

Back to Top

Prevention

You should ask your doctor if you are a candidate for the pneumonia or flu vaccines that can help prevent certain strains of pneumonia.  Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.  Avoid touching your eyes and nose.

Back to Top

Am I at Risk
Adults over the age of 65 and very young children have an increased risk of pneumonia.  Native Americans and Native Alaskans have an increased risk of pneumonia.


Other risk factors for pneumonia include:
• Smoking and alcohol abuse
• Certain diseases, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, GERD, HIV/AIDS
• Suppressed immune system from illness or immunosuppressant medications
• Hospitalization, surgery, or traumatic injury
• Exposure to toxic chemical fumes or pollution

Back to Top

Complications
Pneumonia can be a serious life-threatening condition that can lead to death.  Complications of pneumonia include blood infection, fluid accumulation in the lungs, abscesses in the lung, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Back to Top

 

Copyright ©  - iHealthSpot, Inc. - www.iHealthSpot.com

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.