Pneumonia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Cough is just one symptom of pneumonia.

Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

Pneumonia often starts with symptoms typical of a cold or upper respiratory infection, like sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough. As the infection develops in the lung, high fever is apparent along with chills and a cough that produces thick sputum. Chest pain can occur if the outer layer (pleura) of the lungs is involved in the inflammatory process.

Pneumonia facts

  • Pneumonia is inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs, most commonly due to an infection.
  • Pneumonia may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi; less frequently by other causes.
  • The most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
  • Signs and symptoms of pneumonia include
  • Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is acquired outside of the health-care setting and is typically less severe than hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP).
  • About 20% of those with CAP require treatment in a hospital.
  • Antibiotics treat pneumonia by controlling the bacterial or fungal infection. The initial choice of antibiotic depends on the organism presumed to be causing the infection as well as local patterns of antibiotic resistance.
  • Pneumonia can be fatal in up to 30% of severe cases that are managed in the intensive-care setting.
  • Complications of pneumonia include sepsis, pleural effusion, and empyema.
  • Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the most common viral causes of pneumonia.
  • Antiviral medications may be used to treat pneumonia caused by some types of viruses.
  • Most kinds of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious, but tuberculosis and Mycoplasma pneumonia are exceptions.
  • A chest X-ray is typically done to diagnose pneumonia.
  • Risk factors for pneumonia include age over 65 or under 2, having certain chronic medical conditions (including underlying lung disease, cigarette smoking, alcoholism, and neurological problems), or sustaining injuries that interfere with swallowing or coughing.
  • Vaccinations are available against several common organisms that are known to cause pneumonia. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 4/22/2016
References
REFERENCES:

American Lung Association. "Pneumonia Fact Sheet." <http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/influenza/in-depth-resources/pneumonia-fact-sheet.html>.

"Healthcare-Associated Pneumonia." Medscape.com. <http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/558518>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Pneumonia." Feb. 25, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/pneumonia/index.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Pneumococcal Vaccination: Who Needs It?" June 19, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/vacc-in-short.htm>.

United States. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "Types of Pneumonia." Mar. 1, 2011. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/types.html>.

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