Pneumonia is a lung infection that often forms because of a virus, bacteria, or fungus. Infection from any of these germs can cause inflammation and buildup of fluid in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Cough, sputum production, fevers, and chills are all common symptoms of pneumonia.
Call the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases to learn more or make an appointment at 412-647-7228 or 1-877-788-7228.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that occurs because of a virus, bacteria, or fungus.
Some pneumonia cases are mild, while others can be severe — or even deadly.
It's the eighth most common cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of about 50,000 people each year. During very bad flu seasons, deaths from pneumonia are much higher.
Pneumonia is also the most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. after giving birth.
There are three basic types of pneumonia, based on how someone gets the infection:
An infection causes pneumonia but there are many possible causes of the infection, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Many viruses can cause pneumonia but the most common are:
Several different types of bacteria can also cause pneumonia.
The repeated use of antibiotics can cause certain types of resistant bacterial pneumonia. You should only receive antibiotics if doctors know what bacteria caused your pneumonia.
Some people can be at risk for pneumonia due to a fungus, especially when their immune system is weak.
Sometimes doctors never find out what kind of germ caused a person's pneumonia.
Anyone can develop pneumonia as a complication of an infection.
About one-half of all people who get pneumonia are between the ages of 18 and 57. And about half the people who die from bacterial pneumonia are 18 to 64 years old.
People with a higher risk of pneumonia include those who:
People with the following chronic health conditions also have a higher risk of pneumonia:
If people with pneumonia don't receive treatment, many will form complications — and some may even die.
People who get pneumonia in the hospital often have a higher risk of dying than those who get it in the community.
Pneumonia is also the most common cause of sepsis, a very serious condition that can cause death. Sepsis occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection.
Even if you receive treatment for pneumonia, some people suffer long-term such as:
The best and most vital way to prevent certain types of pneumonia infections is to get the vaccines for the following diseases:
Other things you can do to reduce your risk of catching pneumonia are to:
Symptoms of pneumonia include:
If you have a fever, you should contact your doctor to ask if you should make an appointment. If you have many pneumonia symptoms, you should go to an ER or urgent care as soon as possible.
To diagnose pneumonia, your doctor will:
Your doctor will also do some tests. The most helpful is an x-ray of your chest. If your chest x-ray shows swelling or fluid in your lungs, that may mean you have pneumonia.
Other tests to help diagnose pneumonia include:
The best things you can do when you have pneumonia are to:
Doctors at UPMC use the most recent treatment guidelines for pneumonia.
The goal of treatment is to cure the infection or to treat the symptoms until the infection goes away on its own.
Treatment often depends on the cause. Antibiotics can treat pneumonia caused by bacteria but will not help pneumonia caused by a virus.If a viral or fungal infection is the cause, some antiviral medications or treatments may help in certain cases.
You may also receive drugs to reduce a fever or treat other symptoms, such as coughing.
If you have severe pneumonia, you may need treatment in the hospital.
This allows your doctors to watch you closely and give you:
Some people with pneumonia only need to stay in the hospital for a few days. Others may need to stay for a few weeks.
When you go home from the hospital after pneumonia, you may still need time to heal.
The following can help you feel better faster:
To learn more about the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases or to make an appointment, call 412-647-7228 or 1-877-788-7228.