Pneumonia is a severe infection of the lungs that causes an accumulation of pus or fluid in the air sacs of the lungs and causes difficulty breathing. Several organisms, like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause it. Bacterial pneumonia is more severe than viral pneumonia. However, in both of them, you need to take good care of yourself.
Pneumonia can become life-threatening if you do not take it seriously. Therefore you must pay attention to its symptoms and visit the doctor soon. You might not realize, but pneumonia can become complicated promptly. To get an expert opinion, you can consult a Pulmonologist in Lahore.
If you present with chest pain, cough with phlegm, fatigue, fever with chills, shortness of breath, or nausea and diarrhea, your doctor might take an X-ray of your lung.
Medical history and Physical examination
A medical and physical examination plays an essential role in the finalization of the diagnosis. If you present to the doctor with its symptoms, they will perform various tests.
Your doctor might ask you about your medical history and do a physical exam. Bubbling or cracking sounds on a stethoscope may suggest pneumonia.
If pneumonia is suspected, your doctor can recommend the following tests:
- Blood tests
- To confirm an infection and identify the causative organism. (organism may or may not be identified through blood tests)
- Chest X-ray
- To determine the location of the infection
- Pulse oximetry
- To measure the oxygen level in blood and indicate if the oxygen-inhaling capacity of the lung has been affected by pneumonia or not.
- Sputum test
- Sputum (fluid) from your lungs is taken after a deep cough and examined to help identify the cause of the infection.
Additional tests may also be done to identify any serious symptoms or health complications. These tests may include the following:
- CT scan
- Pleural fluid culture
- If the infection has spread to the pleural cavity, a pleural fluid sample can be taken by putting a needle between your ribs and cultured to determine the type of infection.
Community-acquired pneumonia can be treated at home with the medications mentioned below. Most symptoms disappear in a few days or weeks.
Antibiotics like macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin or erythromycin) can treat bacterial pneumonia. The first-line treatment to treat bacterial pneumonia in children is generally amoxicillin.
Since pneumonia is associated with coughing with phlegm, you can use cough medicines to calm your cough. If you want a cough suppressant, use the lowest dose that helps you rest. Some researchers suggest that cough medicines may not be as effective in relieving cough as expected; therefore, warm honey and lemon drinks can help relieve the discomfort caused by continuous coughing.
Fever reducers/pain relievers
If pneumonia is accompanied by fever and discomfort, you can take fever reducers or pain relievers. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Drink plenty of fluids
Fever can lead to dehydration. To avoid that, you need to make sure you increase your intake of fluids. Therefore drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.
Smoking damages the lungs in several ways, so it is best to avoid or quit smoking.
The Bottom Line
In severe cases, you might need to get hospitalized for the treatment of pneumonia. It is better to visit the doctor as soon as symptoms appear so that they can be treated earlier without any complications. To get an expert opinion, you can consult a pulmonologist at Ittefaq Hospital.
Make sure not to delay your pneumonia symptoms as it can become life threatening.