Pneumonia is an infection that affects the small airways and air sacs in the lungs.
Development of Pneumonia in the Air Sacs of the Lungs
Normal gas exchange is interrupted by fluid build up.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Pneumonia is sometimes described by where and how you were infected. Types of pneumonia include: Community-acquired—from the community, such as a school, gym, or at workNosocomial—in a hospital or healthcare settingAspiration—happens when foreign matter is inhaled into the lungs, such as food, liquid, saliva, or vomit
Pneumonia may be
caused by: Infection from specific types of: BacteriaViruses
FungiAspirationOther specific germsChemical exposure and irritation
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Pneumonia may cause: CoughChest painIncreased mucus productionFever and chillsTrouble breathingWeakness
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may suspect pneumonia based on your symptoms, and breath and lung sounds. Tests can confirm diagnosis and determine the specific germ causing the pneumonia.
Your bodily fluids may be tested with: Blood tests and/or culturesSputum cultureUrine tests
Pulse oximetry measures blood oxygen levels.
Images may be taken of your lungs. This can be done with: A chest x-rayA lung ultrasound
Treatment of pneumonia depends on: What caused the pneumoniaSeverity of symptomsOther factors, like your overall health
People with severe pneumonia may need to be hospitalized.
Your doctor may advise:
Antibiotics—for pneumonia caused by bacteriaAntifungal medications—for pneumonia caused by fungiAntiviral medications—for pneumonia caused viruses, such as influenzaOver-the-counter medications to reduce fever and discomfortVitamin C may be advised if you don't get enough in your dietOxygen therapy may be needed in more severe cases
Certain vaccines may prevent pneumonia:
Flu vaccine—pneumonia may be a complication of the flu for people at high risk of infection, especially aged 50 years and olderPneumococcal vaccine: All adults who are aged 65 years or olderAdults of any age who are at high risk of infection or have a suppressed immune system
Other preventive measures include: If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how you can successfully quit. Smoke weakens the lungs' resistance to infection and increases recovery time.
Avoid close contact with people who have the
cold or flu.
Wash your hands
often, especially after coming into contact with someone who is sick..
Protect yourself on jobs that include chemicals or other lung irritants.Maintain good control of any chronic disease, such as asthma and diabetes.
2015 Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html. Updated January 26, 2105. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Blasi F, Aliberti S, Pappalettera M, Tarsia P. 100 years of respiratory medicine: pneumonia.
Respir Med. 2007;101(5):875-881.
Braunwald E, Harrison TR, et al.
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th
ed. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2008.
Carpenter CC, Andreoli TE, et al.
Cecil Essentials of Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Science; 2003.
Community-acquired pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 5, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2014.
De Roux A, Marcos MA, Garcia E, et al. Viral community-acquired pneumonia in non-immunocompromised adults.
Explore pneumonia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Niederman MS. Recent advances in community-acquired pneumonia inpatient and outpatient.
Niederman MS. Review of treatment guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia.
Am J Med. 2004;117:Suppl 3A:51S-57S.
10/21/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Hemilä H, Louhiala P. Vitamin C for preventing and treating pneumonia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;8:CD005532.
3/10/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Su VY, Liu CJ, Wang HK, et al. Sleep apnea and risk of pneumonia: A nationwide population-based study. CMAJ. 2014;186(6):415-421.
6/17/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Reissig A, Copetti R, Mathis G, et al. Lung ultrasound in the diagnosis and follow-up of community-acquired pneumonia: A prospective, multicenter diagnostic accuracy study. Chest. 2012;142(4):965-972.
2/3/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Rantala A, Jaakkola JJ, Jaakkola MS. Respiratory infections in adults with atopic disease and IgE antibodies to common aeroallergens. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e68582.
Last reviewed February 2016 by David L Horn, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.