Dawn Drewes, APRNTelehealth visit
- Available tomorrow
Dr. Anna Chacon, MDTelehealth visit
- Available today
- Highly rated
Pneumonia is a contagious infection of your lungs. The infection is caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungi that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. When this tissue becomes infected and inflamed, the airways become swollen and fill with pus or mucus, making it hard to breathe.
The symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening.
- Coughing (often with yellowish or green mucus)
- Coughing up blood (in severe cases)
- Fever, sweating, or chills that cause shaking
- Sharp chest pain that gets worse when you breathe or cough
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (most common in children under the age of 2)
- Confusion (most common in adults over the age of 65)
Pneumonia caused by viruses can be very contagious. According to the CDC, approximately 1 million adults are hospitalized for pneumonia every year, and nearly 50,000 Americans die from pneumonia annually. The influenza virus is one of the most common causes of pneumonia, although nearly 30 different germs can cause the infection. Pneumonia can affect anyone regardless of age or sex, but children under the age of 2 and adults over the age of 65 are most at risk for infection and complications caused by pneumonia. People staying in a hospital, people who smoke, and people with a chronic health problem or weakened immune system are also at risk for serious pneumonia infections or complications.
You can prevent pneumonia infection by practicing good hygiene, vaccinating yourself against the seasonal influenza virus, and -- if you’re in certain risk groups or of a certain age -- getting the pneumonia vaccine. Pneumonia can be treated with medication and self-care methods. If you are experiencing severe symptoms of pneumonia, such as coughing up mucus with blood in it, talk to your doctor right away. Untreated pneumonia can cause serious complications, even death.
Pneumonia is commonly treated at home with medication and self-care methods. In some serious cases, hospitalization may be required. Take a look below to learn more about treatments for pneumonia. During your appointment, talk to your provider about what treatment plan is right for you.