Pneumonia: Overview

Pneumonia refers to lung inflammation, and often to a lung infection with fluid in the lungs. Pneumonia can be very serious, even fatal, and you need to see a doctor immediately if pneumonia is suspected. Pneumonia can be due to bacterial, viruses, fungi, or protozoa. Bacterial pneumonia is a common and severe complication of many different respiratory illnesses (e.g. common cold, flu, etc.). Suspected pneumonia requires immediate medical attention; the risk of fatality is high. Hospitalization is usually required, although very mild cases can be treated at home with antibiotics. Typical symptoms include fever, chills, dry cough initially then followed by a productive cough, rapid breathing, breathing difficulty, chest pain, and other chest or breathing symptoms. Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis can occur where the patient already had an upper respiratory tract infection with fever, cough, etc. Productive cough with colored sputum or blood in the sputum strongly indicates pneumonia. Any breathing symptoms, chest pain, or similar symptoms are strong indicators of serious pneumonia and require immediate medical attention. Pneumonia is serious enough on its own, and can cause respiratory failure and death, but there are also some other complications: pleurisy, fluid in the lungs, lung abscess, etc.

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