WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PNEUMONIA?
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe. Many factors affect how serious pneumonia is, including the type of germ causing the infection and your age and overall health.
See your doctor promptly if you :
- Have a high fever
- Have shaking chills
- Have a cough with phlegm (a slimy substance), which doesn’t improve or worsens
- Develop shortness of breath with normal daily activities
- Have chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Feel suddenly worse after a cold or the flu
People who have pneumonia may also have nausea (feeling sick to the stomach), vomiting, and diarrhea.
Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy.
Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. If they already have a lung disease, it may get worse. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness.
TESTS FOR PNEUMONIA
CHEST X RAY
A chest x ray is the best test for diagnosing pneumonia. However, this test won’t tell your doctor what kind of germ is causing the pneumonia.
CBC (COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT)
Will show a raised white blood cell (WBC) count and an increase in number of neutrophils. This will indicate if there is a bacterial infection.
A blood culture may be done to find out whether the infection has spread to your bloodstream. This test is used to detect germs in the bloodstream. A blood culture may show which germ caused the infection. and your doctor can decide how to treat the infection.
WHAT IS PNEUMONIA?
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs. Many germs – such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi – can cause pneumonia.
The infection inflames your lung’s air sacs, which are called alveoli. The air sacs may fill up with fluid or pus, causing symptoms such as a cough with phlegm (a slimy substance), fever, chills, and trouble breathing.
Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Many factors affect how serious pneumonia is, such as the type of germ causing the infection and your age and overall health.
Pneumonia tends to be more serious for:
- Infants and young children.
- Older adults (people 65 years or older).
- People who have other health problems, such as heart failure, diabetes external link icon, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
- People who have weak immune systems as a result of diseases or other factors. Examples of these diseases and factors include HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer), and an organ transplant or blood and marrow stem cell transplant.