Caused by bacteria, fungi or a virus, pneumonia is a lung infection that inflames the air sacs, causing them to fill with fluid or pus.
It ranges in severity from mild to life-threatening, and can be very serious when it occurs in infants and young children because their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
The symptoms associated with pneumonia can range from mild to severe, and will depend on your child’s age, health and the substance that’s caused the infection. With that said, the most common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Fever (may be low or high depending on the severity of the pneumonia)
- Sweating or chills
- Mucus producing cough
- Chest pain when breathing or coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Lack of energy
- Stomach upset, including nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
- Sore throat
- Flushed skin
- Difficulty breathing
It’s important to note that pneumonia can be very serious for infants and young children. As such, we encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent complications from developing, such as bacteria in the blood stream, a lung abscess, fluid in the lungs and difficulty breathing.
What causes pneumonia?
Pneumonia is caused by a number of germs, bacteria, fungi and viruses that exist in the air we breathe. Typically, our bodies can prevent these germs from infecting our lungs. When they cannot, pneumonia sets in. Children who have recently been hospitalized, typically use antibiotics, have asthma and are not fully vaccinated are at the greatest risk for developing this infection.
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
Treatment for pneumonia begins with a definitive diagnosis – something our specialists are vastly experienced in providing. To begin the diagnostic process, we will collect information about your symptoms and medical history. From there, we will listen to the lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal sounds. If we suspect your symptoms are caused by pneumonia, we will then order a number of additional tests, including:
An x-ray will create images of the chest and lungs, allowing us to provide a definitive diagnosis of pneumonia, as well as determine the location and scope of the infection.
Blood tests are used to identify the exact organism that’s causing your pneumonia, so we can most effectively treat it.
Like the blood test, a sputum test can help us identify the exact cause of your pneumonia. To administer this test, we will take a sample of fluid from your lungs after a deep cough.
How is pneumonia treated?
Our specialists’ approach to treating pneumonia focuses on clearing the infection and preventing complications from developing. In most cases, pneumonia can be treated at home with medications, including:
If bacteria is causing your pneumonia, we will prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection.
If you’re unable to sleep because of your cough, we may recommend the temporary use of cough medication. However, you don’t want to suppress a cough completely, as coughing is key to clearing fluid from the lungs.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers
Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen may also be used to relieve symptoms, reduce your fever and minimize any pain you may be experiencing.
In addition to the above medications, you will also be advised to get plenty of rest, stay home from work and school, and drink plenty of fluids.
If you or your child has pneumonia, we encourage you to seek among the best pneumonia treatment Orange County has available with our specialists. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment, and let us help you clear the infection, prevent complications and restore your health.Contact Us