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Pneumonia

Overview

Pneumonia is an infection that affects the lungs; it may be caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The air sacs may be filled with pus or liquid, which results in coughing with pus or phlegm, fever, difficulty in breathing, and chills. The infection may range from mild to critical. 

Everyone can be affected by pneumonia; however, the ages that have a higher risk are two years or younger and 65 or older. It also includes those who have other medical conditions and a weak immune system. 

Symptoms

The symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and depending on what causes pneumonia, it can be either germs and other medical conditions. 

The symptoms may include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Coughing with phlegm
  • Chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pain worsens when coughing or breathing.
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

People at high risk are the following: 

  • Adults ages 65 years old and older
  • Children aged two years or younger that have signs and symptoms
  • People with other medical conditions 
  • Weak immune system
  • People who are having chemotherapy or have a weak immune system

Having those symptoms, contact or visit a doctor immediately to get proper treatment and medications.

Diagnosis

Before your doctor requests some tests,  he or she will ask you several questions and physical tests regarding your condition, including your medical history. He or she will also be  listening to your lungs using a stethoscope if there are crackling sounds- an indicator of having pneumonia.

If the doctor suspects that  you have pneumonia, he or she would suggest you have tests. Tests may include:

  • Chest X-ray. A chest x-ray helps the doctor locate the part of the lungs where the infection is. However, it can’t determine what causes pneumonia.
  • Blood tests. Using the blood tests, the doctors can determine what organisms cause the infection. 
  • Pulse oximetry. Pneumonia prevents the movement of oxygen through the bloodstream. Pulse oximetry measures the oxygen levels in the blood.
  • Sputum test. The sputum tests are done after a deep cough, and fluid samples will be collected and will be sent to the laboratory to be analyzed by the experts to know what causes pneumonia.

If the patient is 65 years old or older, some experts may advise taking additional tests. These other tests include:

  • CT Scan. This laboratory test provides a more detailed and clear image of the lungs, which helps experts see a clearer version of the lungs.
  • Pleural fluid culture. This procedure may include taking a sample using a needle. The needle will be placed between the ribs  on the pleural area. It helps physicians determine the type of infection.

Treatment

Treatment can help treat pneumonia and prevent complications. However, treatment depends on the severity of the patient’s condition. Doctors may advise the following:

  • Pain relievers. This medication can relieve discomfort and fever.
  • Antibiotics. It is used for treating bacterial pneumonia. 
  • Cough medicines. This medication can be used to calm the cough. 

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