Pneumonia is a serious condition that can be deadly. It’s usually caused by a bacterial infection. Even if your body fights off the infection, your lungs continue to swell and you’ll be very sick.
If your symptoms are severe, you may develop pneumonia. It can be fatal.
The symptoms of pneumonia can be very similar to other conditions. Make sure you see your doctor right away if you think you have pneumonia.
The time it takes to die from pneumonia is shorter when you have a low white blood cell count, or a low platelet count.
How do I know if I have pneumonia?
- A fever over 100.4 F (38 C)
- A cough that lasts more than 3 weeks
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or pressure
- A rapid heart rate
- Nausea or vomiting
- A loss of appetite
- A low white blood cell count
- A low platelet count
- A high creatinine level
- A high blood urea nitrogen level
What causes pneumonia?
Bacteria are usually responsible for causing pneumonia. Viral pneumonia can also be caused by an infection with the flu virus.
Infections that cause you to have a low white blood cell count or a low platelet count can also lead to pneumonia.
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
Your doctor will take your medical history and do a physical exam. They’ll ask you about your symptoms and do a chest exam.
Your doctor will do a blood test to check for a low white blood cell count or a low platelet count.
If you have a low platelet count, they may also do a spinal tap. This is a procedure that allows them to collect a sample of fluid from your spine and send it to a lab for testing.
If your doctor suspects that you have a bacterial infection, they may do other tests, including:
- A chest X-ray
- A blood culture
- A sputum culture
- A urine culture
How is pneumonia treated?
Treatment depends on the cause of the pneumonia. It may include:
- Breathing treatments
- Oxygen therapy
- Nutritional support
How do I care for myself if I have pneumonia?
The best way to care for yourself if you have pneumonia is to rest. If you’re very sick, try to keep your room as quiet as possible.
If you’re feeling stable, you can do the following:
- Keep your room as quiet as possible.
- If you feel short of breath, do the first-aid practice.
- If you’re vomiting, try to sit down and rest until the vomiting subsides.
- If you’re very thirsty, try to drink enough water to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid contact with people who can spread the infection.
If you have a low platelet count, you may need to have blood transfusions. This may be necessary if you have a low platelet count and can’t keep your body from bleeding.
You may be able to recover more quickly if you take the antibiotics you’re prescribed to your body as soon as possible.
When can I go home after treatment?
Many people feel better after treatment. But you may be more likely to have complications if you have a low white blood cell count or if you have a low platelet count.
Your doctor will let you know when you can go home.
What’s the long-term outlook?
The long-term outlook depends on the cause of your pneumonia.
If your pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection, you’re more likely to recover when you take the antibiotics your doctor prescribes.
The outlook is also better if you have a low platelet count.
How can I prevent pneumonia?
You can help prevent pneumonia by:
- Keeping your immune system strong by getting the flu shot each year. You can get the flu vaccine at a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or health department.
- Getting a pneumococcal vaccine every year.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching food, doorknobs, or other surfaces.
- Avoid contact with people who are coughing, sneezing, or have a fever.
- Using respiratory or cough medicine.
What is atypical pneumonia?
Atypical pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that doesn’t have the typical symptoms. It’s usually caused by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms can include:
- Muscle pain
- Fever with chills
- Sore throat
Can you get atypical pneumonia from the flu?
The flu virus can cause atypical pneumonia, but it’s usually not life threatening.
When to see your doctor?
See your doctor if you think you have pneumonia.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They’ll do blood tests to check for a low white blood cell count or a low platelet count.
If you have any signs of pneumonia, you should get urgent medical care.
What is a bronchiolitis infection?
Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes (bronchi). This can cause shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
Bronchiolitis can be caused by a virus or a bacteria. It’s often caused by the flu shot.
Flu can also cause bronchiolitis. You might get it from contact with someone who has the flu.
Bronchiolitis can be treated with medicines, oxygen therapy, and sometimes a breathing treatment.
What is the treatment for bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is usually treated in the hospital. In severe cases, it may be treated in an intensive care unit.
Bronchiolitis is usually treated with medicines, oxygen therapy, and sometimes a breathing treatment.
The bottom line
Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria or a virus. There are different types of pneumonia.
If you have a low white blood cell count or a low platelet count, you may have a bacterial infection or a condition that can shorten your life expectancy.
It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Images by Freepik
Generated by AI