Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that can be caused by a variety of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, or fungus. It often starts after an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms can occur 2 to 3 days after a cold or sore throat. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, rapid breathing, wheezing and/or grunting respirations, labored breathing, vomiting, chest pain, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, decreased activity, and, in extreme cases, signs of hypoxia (low oxygen levels) or cyanosis such as a bluish tint around the mouth or fingernails. There are vaccines to prevent certain types of pneumonia. Pneumonia is treated based on the underlying cause. Viral pneumonia is usually treated symptomati-cally. That is, bronchodilators, antipyretics (fever reducing), analgesics such as ibuprofen, cough medications that include expectorants, mucolytics, as well as suppressants to help the patient sleep. Bacterial and fungal pneumonia are treated with antimicrobials as well as the above treatment for viral pneumonia. The antimicrobial is chosen based on the specific microorganism causing the pneumonia. Antimicrobials are discussed in Chapter 13. Antipyretics such as ibuprofen are discussed in Chapter 12. Pneumonia is contagious and is spread from person to person via droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing.

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