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What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

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What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a condition where the lungs are infected. It can be viral, bacterial or fungal. It can range from mild to severe, depending on what type of infection and the overall health of the person. While modern medicine can treat it, there have been known fatalities due to pneumonia, especially among people at high risk of infection.

Any person can get infected, but infants and those over 65 years old are at a higher risk due to the condition of their immune systems.

When you catch pneumonia, the air sacs in your lungs, called alveoli, get filled with pus or fluids. That leads to several symptoms, including difficulty breathing.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Pneumonia symptoms can vary from one person to another because of the different factors involved. That includes overall health, lifestyle, age and type of infection. The most common symptoms of pneumonia that can develop over a few days include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever, sometimes accompanied by sweat or chills
  • General loss of appetite
  • Increase in fatigue or getting tired easily
  • Mucus or phlegm in your cough
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in your chest when breathing or coughing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath

Those with compromised immune systems may also get confused due to the condition. They can experience a change in their mental awareness.

Less common but severe symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Blood is present when coughing
  • Chest pains
  • Joint and muscle pains

What Causes Pneumonia?

Types of pneumonia:

  • Bacterial – when the lungs get infected by a kind of bacteria
  • Viral – getting infected by a virus
  • Fungal – breathing in fungal spores
  • Aspiration – when foreign objects are breathed in, like vomit or harmful chemicals
  • Hospital-acquired – pneumonia can develop in the hospital while being treated for another condition

The challenge for doctors and medical professionals is to determine if your condition is indeed pneumonia. Doctors may run a series of tests before a diagnosis, because the symptoms of pneumonia are similar to other illnesses. Those tests may include a complete blood analysis and a chest X-ray to look for signs of swelling.

The results help to determine the best possible treatment for your pneumonia.

Preventing Pneumonia

Good hygiene is the best way to prevent pneumonia from transferring from one person to another. While most cases are bacterial, preventing germs from spreading is still good practice. You can reduce your risk of spreading germs by:

  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Using a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing
  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Wearing a mask in public when you are experiencing cold symptoms

People at risk of illness can take other preventive measures by getting vaccinated.

How Pneumonia Is Treated

If the infection is mild, pneumonia is treated at home. You may be prescribed an antibiotic to take care of the infection. You then need to get plenty of rest and fluids. People who are generally healthy should respond to the treatment and fully recover.

However, at-risk groups can encounter complications with pneumonia. Infants, older adults and those with pre-existing conditions may need hospitalization to avoid complications, such as:

  • Lung abscess
  • Pleurisy, or the inflammation of lung linings
  • Sepsis, or blood poisoning

Visit a UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center Location for Pneumonia Care

Getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids is enough for mild cases of pneumonia. However, complications may arise given the right set of circumstances. People who are at high risk can encounter other problems if infected. Those cases need care at a hospital to get proper treatment.

UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center

In the past, the decision on where to go for your illnesses and injuries was up to you. Now, let us be the expert to diagnose and treat you anytime you need us, all at one location.

At UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Centers, our primary goal is to provide the residents of Northeast Florida with exceptional service and the proper billing for the care they need. Our combined emergency room and urgent care is fully equipped to handle everything from allergies to chest pain with on-site labs, X-ray, ultrasound and CT, all under one roof.

The ER and urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No appointment is necessary — just walk in!

Find the UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center in Jacksonville nearest you at