What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between viral and bacterial pneumonia

What you should know:
•The most common symptoms include greenish or yellow mucus, fever, chills, stabbing chest pain, and shortness of breath
•Drink plenty of fluids
•Treatment depends on cause

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Hi, I’m Greg Collins and I’m a CVS pharmacist. There are many symptoms associated with pneumonia. The most common include a cough with greenish or yellow mucus; bloody sputum on occasion, fever with shaking chills, sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing or coughing, rapid, shallow breathing, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include headache; excessive sweating and clammy skin; loss of appetite; excessive fatigue; and confusion, especially in the elderly.
Treatment of pneumonia depends on whether the cause is related to bacteria or a virus. If the cause is bacterial, the goal is to cure the infection with antibiotics. If the cause is viral, antibiotics will NOT be effective, but sometimes antiviral medication may be prescribed. It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between viral and bacterial pneumonia, so antibiotics are often prescribed. Many people can be treated with antibiotics at home. When at home, be sure to follow these steps: drink plenty of fluids to help loosen your chest congestion and bring up phlegm; get lots of rest; control your fever with aspirin or acetaminophen but DO NOT give aspirin to children. If you have an underlying chronic disease, severe symptoms, or low oxygen levels, you will likely require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and oxygen therapy. Infants and the elderly are more commonly admitted for treatment of pneumonia. When in the hospital, respiratory treatments may be necessary. Occasionally, steroid medications may be used to decrease wheezing if there is an underlying lung disease such as asthma.
I hope this helps you understand pneumonia and how it’s treated. If you have any questions at all, talk to a CVS pharmacist or MinuteClinic nurse practitioner. We’re here to help.

Source: CVS Caremark Health Resources

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