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Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the 5 Facts About Pneumonia, The causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.


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Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the 5 Facts About Pneumonia, The causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the 5 Facts About Pneumonia, The Causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.

What causes pneumonia

The most common type of bacterial pneumonia is called pneumococcal pneumonia.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated
Cold And Flu. Portrait Of Ill Woman Caught Cold, Feeling Sick And Sneezing In Paper Wipe. Closeup Of Beautiful Unhealthy Girl Covered In Blanket Wiping Nose. Healthcare Concept. High Resolution

What causes pneumonia: Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae germ that normally lives in the upper respiratory tract. It infects over 900,000 Americans every year.

Bacterial pneumonia can occur on its own or develop after you’ve had a viral cold or the flu. Bacterial pneumonia often affects just one part, or lobe, of a lung. When this happens, the condition is called lobar pneumonia. Those at greatest risk for bacterial pneumonia include people recovering from surgery, people with respiratory disease or viral infection, and people who have weakened immune systems.

What causes pneumonia

Some types of bacteria can cause what is known as “atypical” pneumonia, including:

Mycoplasma pneumoniae, is a tiny wide-spread bacterium that usually infects people younger than 40 years old, especially those living and working in crowded conditions. The illness is often mild enough to go undetected and is sometimes referred to as walking pneumonia.

Chlamydophila pneumoniae, commonly causes upper respiratory infections year-round, but case result in a mild form of pneumonia.

Legionella pneumophila, causes a dangerous form of pneumonia called Legionnaire’s disease. Unlike other bacterial pneumonias, Legionella is not passed from person to person. Outbreaks of the disease have been linked to exposure to contaminated water from cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and outdoor fountains.

These bacteria are referred to as “atypical” because pneumonia caused by these organisms might have slightly different symptoms, appear different on a chest X-ray, or respond to different antibiotics than the typical bacteria that cause pneumonia. Even though these infections are called “atypical,” they are not uncommon.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the Facts About Pneumonia, The causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.

What causes pneumonia


Viruses that infect the upper respiratory tract may also cause pneumonia. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the influenza virus are the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults. 

Can Pneumonia Be Treated
Cropped shot of a young man suffering with flu while sitting wrapped in a blanket on the sofa at home

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in young children. Most viral pneumonias are not serious and last a shorter time than bacterial pneumonia.

COVID-19 pneumonia can be severe, causing low levels of oxygen in the blood and leading to respiratory failure and in many cases a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

What causes pneumonia

Viral pneumonia caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus generally occurs in both lungs. As the lungs fill with fluid, oxygen exchange becomes more difficult and results in breathing difficulties. Recovery may take months before symptoms ease.

Viral pneumonia caused by the influenza virus may be severe and sometimes fatal. The virus invades the lungs and multiplies; however, there are almost no physical signs of lung tissue becoming filled with fluid. This pneumonia is most serious in people who have pre-existing heart or lung disease and pregnant women. 

What causes pneumonia

Viral pneumonias may be complicated by a secondary invasion of bacteria, with all the typical symptoms of bacterial pneumonia.


Fungal pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems, and in people who are exposed to large doses of certain fungi from contaminated soil or bird droppings.

Pneumocystis pneumonias is a serious fungal infection caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii. It occurs in people who have weak immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or the long-term use of medicines that suppress their immune systems, such as those used to treat cancer or manage organ transplants.

The following are three fungi that occur in the soil in some parts of the United States and can cause some people to get pneumonia.

Histoplasmosis. This fungus is found in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys.

Cryptococcus. This fungus is found throughout the United States in bird droppings and soil contaminated with bird droppings.

Coccidioidomycosis. This fungus is found in Southern California and the desert Southwest. It is the cause of valley fever.

Is Pneumonia Contagious?  

Is Pneumonia Contagious? Yes, some types of pneumonia are contagious, meaning it spreads from person to person. Pneumonia is mostly spread when people infected cough, sneeze, or talk, sending respiratory droplets into the air.

These droplets can then be inhaled by close contacts. Less often, you can get pneumonia from touching an object or surface that has the germ on it and then touching your nose or mouth.

Not everyone who is exposed to pneumonia will develop it and some people are at increased risk for getting pneumonia.  

There is no set time for how long you’ll be contagious once you have pneumonia.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated
Sick woman with flu, cold, fever and cough sitting on couch at home. Ill person blowing nose and sneezing with tissue and handkerchief. Woolen socks and medicine. Infection in winter. Resting on sofa.

The time you may spread pneumonia to others is dependent on the type of pneumonia and what caused you to have it. Generally, if you have bacterial pneumonia, you are contagious for around 48 hours after starting antibiotics and your fever has gone away.

If it is viral pneumonia, as symptoms start to go away (especially fever) so does the contagious period. Pneumonia caused by fungi are not contagious.

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia? Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age, and your overall health.

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:

Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough

Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue

Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children

Confusion, especially in older people

Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow, or even bloody mucus

Fever, sweating, and shaking chills

Shortness of breath

Rapid, shallow breathing

Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care.

The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to a lack of oxygen in the blood.

A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days.

Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath, and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.

Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy.

Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms.

They may even have a lower-than-normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.

Can Pneumonia Be Prevented?

Can Pneumonia Be Prevented: Yes. You can reduce your risk of getting pneumonia by following a few simple steps. Here’s how:

Get Vaccinated

Get a flu shot every year to prevent seasonal influenza. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, so preventing the flu is a good way to prevent pneumonia.

Certain people should get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, a common form of bacterial pneumonia include:

Children younger than 2.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the Facts About Pneumonia, The causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.

Children 2-5 with certain health conditions such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, and diabetes.

Adults 19-64 with certain chronic health conditions or risk factors such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease, or cigarette smoking.

All adults 65 and older should get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia.

Additional pneumococcal vaccinations may be recommended for children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease depending on their health condition(s).

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if one of them is right for you.

Several other vaccines can prevent infections by bacteria and viruses that may lead to pneumonia, including pertussis (whooping cough), COVID-19, chicken pox and measles. Please talk to your doctor about whether you and your family are up to date on your vaccines and to determine if any of these vaccines are appropriate for you.

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or blowing your nose, going to the bathroom, diapering, and before eating or preparing food.

Don’t Smoke

Tobacco damages your lung’s ability to fight off infection, and people who smoke are at higher risk of getting pneumonia. Tobacco users are considered one of the high-risk groups that are encouraged to get the pneumonia vaccine to help prevent pneumococcal pneumonia.

Be Aware of Your General Health

Since pneumonia often follows respiratory infections, be aware of any symptoms that linger for more than a few days.

Good health habits—a healthy diet, rest, regular exercise, etc.—help keep you from getting sick from viruses and respiratory illnesses. They also help promote faster recovery when you do get a cold, the flu, or other respiratory illness.

Take care to keep well-managed existing health conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, and heart disease.

If you have children, talk to their doctor about:

Hib vaccine, which prevents pneumonia in children from Haemophilus influenza type b

A drug called Synagis (palivizumab), which is given to some children younger than 24 months to prevent pneumonia caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

If you have cancer or HIV, talk to your doctor about additional ways to prevent pneumonia and other infections.

How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed?

Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.

Medical history

Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:

  • Contact with animals
  • Any recent travel
  • Your occupation
  • Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
  • Whether you have recently had another illness

Physical exam

Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.

Diagnostic Tests

If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:

Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.

Sputum test on a sample of mucus (sputum) taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.

Blood tests is done confirm the infection and try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.

Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.

If you are considered a high-risk patient because of your age and overall health, or if you are hospitalized, the doctors may want to do some additional tests, including:

An arterial blood gas test, is done to measure the amount of oxygen in a blood sample taken from an artery, usually in your wrist. This is more accurate than the simpler pulse oximetry.

Pleural fluid culture, which removes a small amount of fluid from around tissues that surround the lung, analyzes and identify bacteria causing the pneumonia.

Bronchoscopy, a procedure used to look into the lungs’ airways. If you are hospitalized and your treatment is not working well, doctors may want to see whether something else is affecting your airways, such as a blockage. They may also take fluid samples or a biopsy of lung tissue.

CT scan of the chest to get a better view of the lungs and look for abscesses or other complications.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the Facts About Pneumonia, The causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.

How Is Pneumonia Treated?

Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications.

It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.

  • Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
  • Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic.
  • It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
  • Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
  • Control your fever with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or acetaminophen. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
  • Get lots of rest. You may need to stay in bed for a while. Get as much help as you can with meal preparation and household chores until you are feeling stronger. It is important not to overdo daily activities until you are fully recovered.
  • If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.
  • Do not take cough medicines without first talking to your doctor. Coughing is one way your body works to get rid of an infection. If your cough is preventing you from getting the rest you need, ask your doctor about steps you can take to get relief.
  • Drink warm beverages, take steamy baths and use a humidifier to help open your airways and ease your breathing. Contact your doctor right away if your breathing gets worse instead of better over time.
  • Stay away from smoke to let your lungs heal. This includes smoking, secondhand smoke and wood smoke. Talk to your doctor if you use tobacco products and are having trouble staying smokefree while you recover. This would be a good time to think about quitting for good.

Can Pneumonia Be Treated? Check the Facts About Pneumonia, The causes of Pneumonia, the signs and Symptoms, and Prevention.

Facts about Pneumonia

Facts about Pneumonia: Pneumonia is more common than you think. It causes more than a million hospitalizations and more than 50,000 deaths each year. Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of your lungs, causing inflammation and fluid build-up. It may cause problems with oxygen exchange. Here’s what you should know about this serious illness.

Pneumonia can have more than 30 different causes.
Many germs, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause pneumonia. Understanding the cause of pneumonia is important because pneumonia treatment depends on its cause.

It can be deadly.
Pneumonia can be very serious and can cause death. Complications from pneumonia include respiratory failure, sepsis and lung abscess and are more likely to affect older adults, young children, those with a weakened immune system and people with other medical problems.

The chances of getting pneumonia can be substantially reduced.
Get a flu shot every year to help prevent seasonal influenza. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, so preventing the flu is a good way to reduce your risk of pneumonia. In addition, those at risk can get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia.

Anyone can get pneumonia.
While some people are at higher risk than others, anyone can get pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, wheezing, cough, chills, rapid breathing, chest pains, loss of appetite and malaise, or a general feeling of weakness or ill health.

Good health habits can fight pneumonia.
Washing your hands, following a healthy diet, getting adequate rest, regularly exercising and not smoking are all habits that can help you from getting sick from bacteria, viruses and other causes of respiratory illnesses. Good health habits also promote fast recovery when you do get sick.

credit: America Lung Association


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