Detailed Information on Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an inflammatory illness of the lung. Currently, over 3 million people develop pneumonia each year in the United States. It usually caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, fungi or other organisms. Pneumonia is a particular concern for older adults and people with chronic illnesses or impaired immune systems, but it can also strike young, healthy people. Having a long-term, or chronic, disease like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes also makes you more likely to get pneumonia. People most at risk are older than 65 or younger than 2 years of age, or already have health problems. Herpes simplex virus is a rare cause of pneumonia except in newborns. People with immune system problems are also at risk of pneumonia caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV).

People with infectious pneumonia often have a cough producing greenish or yellow sputum and a high fever that may be conducted by shaking chills. Shortness of breath is also common. People with pneumonia may cough up blood, experience headaches, or develop sweaty and clammy skin. Other possible symptoms are loss of appetite, fatigue, blueness of the skin, nausea, vomiting, mood swings, and joint pains or muscle aches. In some people, particularly the elderly and those who are debilitated, bacterial pneumonia may follow influenza or even a common cold. People with weak immune systems at greatest risk of pneumonia. Sometimes pneumonia can lead to additional complications. Complications are more frequently associated with bacterial pneumonia than with viral pneumonia.

Pneumonia can be treated with oral antibiotics given to your child at home. Steroid medications may be used to reduce wheezing. Control your fever with aspirin or acetaminophen. Do not give aspirin to children. The best preventive measures include washing your hands frequently, not smoking, and wearing a mask when cleaning dusty or moldy areas. There are vaccines to prevent infections by viruses or bacteria that cause some types of pneumonia. Vaccines are now also given against the pneumococcus organism (PCV), a common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Antiviral medication is now available, too, and can be used to prevent some types of viral pneumonia or to make symptoms less severe. Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.

Pneumonia Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Steroid medications may be used to reduce wheezing.

2. Vaccines are now also given against the pneumococcus organism (PCV).

3. Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.

4. If your child has chest pain, try a heating pad or warm compress on the chest area.

5. Control your fever with aspirin or acetaminophen. Do not give aspirin to children.

6. Erythromycin (eg Erythroped), by mouth. Given if allergic to penicillin.