Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that is caused by a bacteria, virus or fungi. Although symptoms of pneumonia can be mild at first the disease can be deadly, so it’s important to treat it as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of pneumonia include productive (phlegm-expelling) cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, sweating, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and chills. If you have bacterial pneumonia, you may also develop lips and nails with a bluish tinge.
The typical treatments to combat pneumonia include medications such as antibiotics, antivirals and antifungal drugs. Many of these medications can be administered orally at home. However, certain cases may require them to be administered intravenously in a hospital setting. Your doctor may also recommend respiratory and/or oxygen therapy. Therapy uses a variety of techniques, including delivering specific medications directly into the lungs. The respiratory therapist may also teach you or help you to perform breathing exercises to maximize your oxygenation.
Fortunately, many types of pneumonia can be prevented. The most important step you can take to this effect is to get the pneumonia vaccine. Since pneumonia can develop as a complication of the flu, getting the flu shot can be helpful as well.