Pneumonia is an infection deep in the small airways and air sacs of the lungs. The infection will make the air sacs swell and fill with fluid or pus. This causes intense coughing and can make it difficult to breathe.
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Types of pneumonia include:
This article will focus on community-acquired pneumonia.
Pneumonia is caused by a germ in the air that you breathe. Germs that most often cause community-acquired pneumonia include:
Pneumonia is more common in older adults. Other factors that may increase the chances of pneumonia:
Health conditions that may increase the risk of community-acquired pneumonia include:
Other environmental factors include:
Pneumonia may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may suspect pneumonia based on your symptoms and lung sounds.
Pictures of the lungs can show that pneumonia is present. Pictures may be taken with:
Your doctor may need to know the exact germ that is causing the problem. This step may be needed if there is a severe infection. The germ can be tested through:
Treatment will be based on what may have caused the pneumonia and your overall health. More support may be needed if there is a severe infection. A hospital stay may be needed if it becomes difficult to breathe.
Your doctor may advise:
Oxygen may need to be given for severe infections. This will help to increase the level of oxygen that passes to the blood.
Vaccines may help to prevent certain pneumonia:
Steps that may decrease the risk for any respiratory infection include:
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Health Agency of Canada
The Lung Association
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Last reviewed February 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 2/3/2015