Untreated, pneumonia can lead to serious medical problems, ranging from sepsis and acute respiratory failure to an abscess on your lungs that requires surgery to remove. While there are a number of different kinds of pneumonia, treatment is almost always successful when the disease is caught early. The symptoms are similar and closely resemble other illnesses, so trust a diagnosis that comes from a trained internist who can recognize the slight variations and deliver the proper treatment. Get the best pneumonia treatment in Brooklyn at Century Medical and Dental Center. Call today!
Sometimes, a cough is much more than a cough. If you’ve been having cold, flu, or other respiratory symptoms for longer than two weeks, you could have pneumonia. When these symptoms persist, you need to rely on your internal medicine doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center to provide you with a firm diagnosis so you can get effective treatment and prevent further complications.
Pneumonia is a common respiratory infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both of your lungs. Many different factors cause and worsen the condition. Early detection, which only happens when you seek treatment at the first incidence of your symptoms, mitigates your risk of further complications. The severity of your experience with the illness can range from the mild to the life-threatening. There are a few different forms of pneumonia, including:
Fungal and Viral Pneumonia Symptoms
Fungal pneumonia may cause joint pain, headaches, cough, muscle aches and rashes. It’s the least common and most deadly form of the disease. Fungal pneumonia is typically seen in those living in areas where fungus grows freely. It’s most dangerous if your immune system is compromised. Since the symptoms mimic other conditions, it’s difficult to diagnose.
Viral pneumonia symptoms, which you get from an active virus, mimic the flu. In the early stages, the symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Dry cough
After a couple days, the condition worsens and causes:
- Shortness of breath
- High fever
- A worse cough
- Blue lips
Aspirational Pneumonia Symptoms
Aspirational pneumonia infections happen when you inhale liquid, food or vomit into your lungs. It can even occur when food backs up from your stomach and gets into your lungs. If coughing doesn’t release the aspirated particles, it can cause an infection. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Cough and fever
- Frothy or pink spit
- Appetite loss
- Chest pain
- Hoarseness or gurgling sounds when you speak
Aspirational pneumonia is usually easier to determine when it began, as getting food or other matter in your lungs isn’t an event that’s readily forgotten unless you’re unconscious when it happens. In fact, being in a coma or under general anesthesia are two risk factors. Being inebriated is another.
Bacterial Pneumonia Symptoms
The bacterial form of pneumonia is the most common and usually the most serious. Your symptoms may begin to show over a couple days or may take up to a few weeks. It’s vital that you seek pneumonia treatment from an experienced doctor because the symptoms are so close to many other conditions. Signs and symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:
- Sharp, pointed pain or chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness, especially in adults age 65 and older
- A cough that produces green or yellow phlegm, pus or bloody mucus
- Fatigue, loss of appetite, low energy
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower than average body temperature, especially in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
Your doctor runs blood tests to confirm what germ is causing the infection or virus. Sputum tests to check mucus can also find the source of your infection. A chest x-ray may be taken to detect the spread and severity of your inflammation. Your doctor uses a pulse oximetry, a non-invasive test, to measure the level of oxygen in your blood because pneumonia affects how well oxygen flows through the body.
Caught early, fungal pneumonia responds well to effective anti-fungal medication. Aspiration pneumonia treatment begins with antibiotics. Steroids may be used to reduce inflammation, and you can receive extra oxygen if you have a low blood oxygen level.
Since antibiotics don’t work on viruses, viral pneumonia usually is treated with rest, anti-viral medicine and symptom management. Antibiotics are regularly prescribed to treat bacterial pneumonia. Only take cough suppressants if your doctor recommends them, because coughing is one way that your body expels foreign material in your lungs. Once the medication starts working in your body, there are additional steps you can take to ensure a smooth recovery:
- Make time for sufficient bed rest
- Drink lots of fluids to loosen phlegm
- Drink warm beverages and use steam to open up your airways
- Cough to remove excess phlegm
- Avoid smoke and other lung irritants
- Stop smoking for the time being or consider quitting
Getting a firm pneumonia diagnosis in the early stages gives you a much better chance of a successful recovery. If you have a persistent cough, have been exposed to a virus or travelled to an area rich in fungus and begin coughing when you get home, contact your Brooklyn clinician for the right kind of pneumonia treatment.