Pneumonia – Prognosis and Treatment Options
Pneumonia refers to the infection of the lungs in which one or both the air sacs get inflamed with pus or fluid. It is a common condition affecting people in the US and affects anyone from infants to adults. If reports are to be true then more than one million people need hospitalization to treat pneumonia every year. While eight to ten million people get affected with this infection. Breathing difficulty, chills, fever, or a cough with pus are some of the most common signs of pneumonia. Patients who get the condition diagnosed at an initial stage generally experience mild complication while delaying treatment can be life-threatening.
Pneumonia prognosis – Pneumonia, being one of the most common respiratory infections in patients, is also responsible for claiming multiple lives every year. However, a proper pneumonia prognosis of the disease can help in curing the condition at the very onset and reduce threats to life. Pneumonia prognosis is generally made by advising a few medical examinations to the patient based on the symptoms of infection.
Blood examinations – This is one of the most common ways of diagnosing any disease and pneumonia is also not an exception. Blood tests are recommended for confirming the infection by identifying the organism leading to the infection.
Pulse oximetry – While a blood test is a primary measure required for predicting and determining the pneumonia prognosis, it is not the single measure that can help in identifying the condition completely. That is the reason, many doctors advise patients to get pulse oximetry done. It helps in identifying the oxygen level in blood and determines if there is any hindrance in the normal functioning.
X-ray of the chest – If there is any indication of pneumonia in blood tests, doctors suggests chest X-rays to visualize the extent of the infection. However, the cause or kind of infection cannot be identified with an X-ray.
Sputum test – It is essential to learn about the cause of infection before starting with the treatment. That is why a sputum test is performed by obtaining sputum or fluids present in lungs.
Though these are the general tests recommended for the prognosis of the condition, doctors may require additional tests depending on the age or condition of the patient. A chest CT scan might be needed for elderly patients or someone who in cases when the patient is not responding to the treatment as expected. Apart from that, in some rare cases, doctors may also require getting the reports of pleural fluid culture to identify the cause of and determine pneumonia prognosis.
Symptoms of pneumonia
A proper pneumonia prognosis is essential to treat the patient. Yet, understanding of the symptoms is extremely necessary for diagnosing the condition. Therefore, to stay safe and report the condition on time, it is essential to know the signs and symptoms as well, as doing so will help the doctor make a proper prognosis for pneumonia.
– A shortness of breathing or difficulty in inhaling
– Diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea
– People with weak immune system may experience a fall in their body temperature
– Shaking chills, sweating, and fever
– Excess fatigue
– Degrading mental awareness or confusion, especially in elderly people
– Constant chest pain while breathing or coughing
Though these symptoms can help in effectively identifying pneumonia in adults, it might not be quite helpful for newborns. Infants infected with pneumonia-causing germs often feel restless or excessively tired. They may get fever accompanied with coughing or vomiting.
Treatment for pneumonia
Understanding the symptoms of pneumonia and getting the medical examinations done on time to diagnose the condition is not enough. You need to get proper treatment of the infection or else it might become life-threatening. It is never recommended to treat pneumonia with over-the-counter medications. Always consult a doctor and get the right medications.
In most of the cases, doctors prescribe different types of antibiotic drugs to heal the infection caused due to bacterial infection. Depending on the extent of infection and age of the patient, doctors may decide on the type as well as the form of the antibiotic.
Apart from antibiotics, patients are often recommended different types of cough medicines to cure coughing, which is one of the major problems of people with pneumonia. Cough suppressants are often useful; however, it should be taken in the right amount or else may lead to adverse effects. Other than cough suppressants, doctors may also prescribe fever reducers as well as pain relievers to treat patients.
With proper care and timely medication, it is not very difficult to get the condition treated at home. However, elderly people or infants may need hospitalization for treatment. Hospitalization might also be required for patients with severe infection. Though medications for pneumonia are available all over the US, it is always recommended to get prevention from this disease. Vaccinations for preventing pneumonia are available all over the country and you can visit any doctor to get it at the earliest. Also, it is wise to follow a healthy lifestyle and practice physical workouts to keep your immune system strong.