is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both
lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent
material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and
difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including
bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
germs can cause pneumonia. The most common are bacteria and
viruses in the air you breathe. Your body usually prevents
these germs from infecting your lungs. But, sometimes, these
germs can overpower your immune system ó even if your health
is generally good.
is classified according to the types of germs that cause it
and where you got the infection.
pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. It occurs
outside of hospitals or other health care facilities. It may
be caused by:
Bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the
U.S. is Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can
occur on its own or after youíve had a cold or the flu. It
may affect one part (lobe) of the lung, a condition called
Bacteria-like organisms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae also can cause
pneumonia. It typically produces milder symptoms than do other
types of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is an informal name
given to this type of pneumonia, which typically isnít
severe enough to require bed rest.
Fungi. This type of pneumonia is most common in people with
chronic health problems or weakened immune systems, and in
people who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. The
fungi that cause it can be found in soil or bird droppings,
and vary depending on geographic location.
Viruses. Some of the viruses that cause colds and the flu can
cause pneumonia. Viruses are the most common cause of
pneumonia in children younger than 5. Viral pneumonia is
usually mild. But, in some cases, it can become serious.
for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing
complications. People who have community-acquired pneumonia
usually can be treated at home with medication. Although most
symptoms ease in a few days or weeks, the feeling of tiredness
can persist for a month or more.
treatments depend on the type and severity of your pneumonia,
your age and your overall health. The options include:
Antibiotics. These medicines are used to treat bacterial
pneumonia. It may take time to identify the type of bacteria
causing your pneumonia and choose the best antibiotic to treat
it. If your symptoms donít improve, your doctor may
recommend a different antibiotic.
Cough medicine. This medicine may be used to calm your cough
so that you can rest. Because coughing helps loosen and move
fluid from your lungs, itís a good idea not to eliminate
your cough completely. In addition, you should know that few
studies have looked at whether over-the-counter cough
medicines lessen coughing caused by pneumonia. If you want to
try a cough suppressant, use the lowest dose that helps you
Fever reducers/pain relievers. You can take fever
reducers/pain relievers as needed, such as aspirin, ibuprofen
(Advil, Motrin IB and others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol and