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When pneumonia is first diagnosed, there often is no way to be sure if the infection is caused by a virus or bacteria. Community acquired pneumonia refers to pneumonia in a person that has not recently stayed in the hospital or a nursing home. Health care associated pneumonia refers to pneumonia that develops in a person that is in the hospital now or has recently been in the hospital or a nursing home. A type of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia develops when chemical irritants and bacteria from the mouth or stomach are inhaled into the lungs. In people with compromised immune systems, the organisms that cause pneumonia are different than those seen in the other types of pneumonia.
Most types of pneumonia cause fever, cough with sputum (coughed-up mucus), shortness of breath and fatigue. Your doctor may order blood tests to look for an elevation of infection-fighting white blood cells and to make sure your electrolytes and kidney function are normal. How long pneumonia lasts can vary from a few days to a week or longer, depending on how early you start antibiotics and what other medical problems you may have.
The influenza vaccine, which is given once a year, can prevent both flu and bacterial infections or pneumonia that can follow the flu. In addition to antibiotics, other treatments for pneumonia include rest, adequate fluid, and supplemental oxygen to raise the level of oxygen in the blood. A simple cold or bronchitis caused by a virus can share many of the same symptoms as pneumonia. Also, if you have been diagnosed with a cold or bronchitis and symptoms are getting worse or persist after a week, you should call your doctor's office for another evaluation. Disclaimer: This content should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a call or visit to a health professional. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.
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When the germs that cause pneumonia reach your lungs, the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending upon factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, age and overall health of the patient. Elderly patients with pneumonia may have sudden changes in mental state or changes in behaviour. Blood Tests – to confirm the presence of infection and to try to identify the type of organism causing the infection.


Sputum Cultures – a sample of fluid from your lungs (sputum) is taken after a deep cough, and analysed to try to pinpoint the type of infection.
Bronchoscopy – a thin, flexible tube with a camera is inserted down your throat and through your airways to check whether something is blocking the airways or whether something else is contributing to your pneumonia. If your pneumonia isn’t clearing as quickly as expected, your doctor may recommend a computed tomography scan of the chest to obtain a more detailed image of your lungs. If you’re very ill in hospital, you might be administered oxygen to help you breathe, or may even require the assistance of a ventilator (an artificial breathing or life support machine). Immunisation against influenza and increasingly resistant pneumococci can play a critical role in preventing pneumonia, particularly in immunocompromised and older adults.
The pneumococcal vaccine has been shown to be 60% to 70% effective in people with a normal immune system.
Dr Lee Yeow Hian is a Consultant Respiratory, Sleep and Intensive Care Physician at Lee Respiratory and Sleep Clinic, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore.
The initial choice of drug(s) is made based on the category of pneumonia you most likely have.
It is more common in people who have had strokes and have difficulty controlling their swallowing reflexes or people who are unconscious as a result of alcohol or other drug overdose.
Samples of your sputum or blood also can be sent to a laboratory to identify the specific cause of your pneumonia. Although it is used mostly to reduce the risk of meningitis and ear infections, it also lowers the risk of pneumonia. A younger or healthier person can be treated safely with antibiotics at home and can feel better in a few days.
Pneumonia is possible when your cough produces sputum with a green or brown color, you are having shaking chills or you are having trouble breathing.
Rarely, pneumonia causes infected fluid to collect around the outside of the lung, called an empyema.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is the second most common cause of death and the fifth most common cause of hospital admissions in Singapore.* Germs such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause pneumonia.
This causes the symptoms of pneumonia, such as a cough, fever, chills, and trouble breathing.
However, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired and without energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating. Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of the pneumonia, age, and the overall health of the patient.


It may take time to identify the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia and to choose the best antibiotic to treat it.
The two major categories are community acquired pneumonia (CAP) and health care associated pneumonia (HCAP). He or she also will look for confusion and a purplish hue in your lips, fingernails or hands because these symptoms can indicate that you have low levels of oxygen in your blood. Identifying the infectious organism can help your doctor to choose the best antibiotic to treat the infection.
Many people find that it takes a few weeks to several weeks to regain the level of energy they had before the pneumonia. Some people are at higher risk of complications and may need to be hospitalized for two days to a week. The very old and frail, especially those with many other medical conditions, are most vulnerable.
Outbreaks of new germs like MERS-CoV, H5N1 influenza virus (avian flu), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, and swine flu (Type A influenza) virus have caused serious, sometimes fatal, pneumonia even in otherwise healthy people. Symptoms often improve within three days, although improvement usually takes twice as long in smokers. It is recommended that this vaccine be offered to all persons 65 years of age or older, those at increased risk for illness and death from the pneumococcus bacteria because of chronic illness, those with a poorly functioning spleen or who have had their spleen removed, and those with a supressed immune system.
Also hospitalized patients are often weakened by other illnesses and are less able to fight off the infection. Using a stethoscope, a health care professional can listen through your back for abnormal sounds from the lungs.
However, even when no organism can be identified, the pneumonia still can be treated successfully with antibiotics. They include people who are older than 60 or have other diseases such as heart failure, active cancer, chronic kidney disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). With aspiration pneumonia, the affected lung may develop a lung abscess that needs many weeks of antibiotic therapy. Understanding the underlying cause of pneumonia is important because the treatment depends on its cause. They are recommended for people 65 and older and for people ages 19 to 64 at higher than average risk of developing serious pneumonia.



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24.05.2015, author: admin
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