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All About Pneumonia

By DuPage Medical Group Pulmonary Medicine

Pneumonia is an infection that affects the lungs. Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening, so it’s important to understand this disease. Let’s take a closer look at pneumonia.

Defining Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, causing the air sacs in one or both lungs to fill with fluid. It is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi.

Symptoms

Usually, mild pneumonia has signs and symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu but last longer. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever, sweating, and shaking chills
  • Cough, which may produce phlegm
  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Causes of Pneumonia

Commonly-acquired pneumonia can be caused by bacteria or bacteria-like organisms, viruses or fungi. These cases are generally mild but can become serious if not properly treated. In other cases, some individuals may have hospital-acquired or health care-acquired pneumonia—pneumonia from staying in a hospital or a long-term care facility. These cases are more serious as the bacteria that cause this type of pneumonia can be more resistant to antibiotics.

Treatment Options

Specific treatments will depend on the type of pneumonia you have and severity, age and overall health. Treatment options can include antibiotics, fever reducers, and cough medicines. Hospitalization may be required if you are more than 65 years old, become confused about time, people, or places, your blood pressure drops, need assistance breathing and other serious conditions. Children under 2 months of age will need to be hospitalized if they acquire pneumonia.

If you think you or a loved one has pneumonia, see your doctor as soon as possible. 


Topics and Subtopics: Cold & Flu & Respiratory Problems

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