Pneumonia is a serious illness that can cause severe breathing problems and organ failure if not properly and promptly treated. The team at Prestige Emergency Room is skilled in pneumonia diagnosis and pneumonia treatment in adults and children, offering patients in San Antonio, TX, the most appropriate care for optimal outcomes.
What causes pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an illness that occurs when the tiny air sacs (alveoli) inside the lungs become inflamed and fill with fluid, making it difficult to breath. These air sacs also play an important role in the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the blood. Inflammation in the lungs usually causes coughing, and sometimes bleeding can occur inside the lungs when an infection is severe. Fever – sometimes high – and chills also occur. Without treatment, the air sacs will continue to fill with fluid, becoming heavy and eventually “collapsing” the lung, significantly impairing oxygen intake and transfer and increasing the risk of organ damage throughout the body. Pneumonia can be bacterial or viral.
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
Pneumonia diagnosis involves a physical examination and a review of symptoms, which can include:
- Cough, sometimes accompanied by phlegm or blood
- Fever (from mild to high)
- Shortness of breath, especially when performing physical activities
- Sharp chest pain when breathing in
- Bluish color in the lips and nail beds due to lack of oxygen (in illness that has progressed)
During the examination, the doctor will listen to the lungs using a stethoscope, and a chest X-ray may also be performed. Mucus samples may be sent to a lab for analysis. Based on the results, the doctor will provide pneumonia treatment when it’s needed.
Who should get the pneumonia vaccine?
There are two types of pneumonia vaccines: PCV13, which provides protection against 13 types of pneumonia, and PPSV23, which provides protection against 23 types of pneumonia. Both vaccinations also provide protection against bacterial meningitis and bacteremia, which can occur in people who have pneumonia. The CDC recommends people 65 years of age and older receive both vaccines – first the PCV13, followed by the PPSV23 at least a year later. Vaccination is also recommended for anyone 19 years of age or older who has specific medical conditions that affect the lungs or who smoke.
How is pneumonia treated?
The main pneumonia treatment is medication. Some patients with more severe infections will need to be hospitalized to receive medication through an IV as well as oxygen.