What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia occurs when the airspaces in the lungs become inflamed, most commonly by infections. Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. While pneumonia is a serious condition in all individuals, it can become more severe in older adults, young children, infants, or those with weakened immune systems.
While most forms of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious, viral pneumonia has the potential to be highly contagious. Common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Fever or chills
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
What Causes Pneumonia?
A form of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, is the most common cause of pneumonia. Viral pneumonia can be caused by the influenza, measles, or chickenpox viruses.
There are also factors that can increase an individual’s risk for developing pneumonia. These include the following.
- Having a weakened immune system
- Being an infant or a child 2 years or younger
- Being 65 years or older
- Having a swallowing or coughing issue
- Having a chronic disease
How to Treat Pneumonia
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of pneumonia or have chest pain, difficulty breathing, or a persistent fever, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Those who are very young or elderly should visit an emergency room, as pneumonia could turn life-threatening.
Because pneumonia can be caused by viruses or bacteria, antibiotics are typically prescribed. If you are given an antibiotic, be sure to take as directed, and finish the entire course so that your symptoms do not return.
Patients in the Skokie or Evanston areas who think they may be experiencing symptoms of pneumonia should visit Ultra Med Urgent Care to be seen by a medical professional.