What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a condition involving inflammation of the lungs. It’s caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. When these germs enter your lungs and multiply, your body sends white blood cells to the area to fight off the invaders as part of your immune response. White blood cells, mucus, and bacteria clog the tiny air sacs in your lungs and inhibit your breathing.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

A classic symptom of pneumonia is a harsh cough that yields thick, yellow or green sputum -- a blend of mucus and saliva from the respiratory tract.

Other symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Cognitive impairment

In some cases, infants might not show any symptoms or signs of pneumonia. In other cases, a baby might have a fever and a cough, be lethargic, vomit, and have difficulty feeding and breathing.

If you or a loved one have a high fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and a relentless cough, you should seek medical attention at Village Emergency Centers.

Who is at a high risk of catching pneumonia?

Groups who are especially likely to catch pneumonia are:

  • Adults over 65
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • People with an underlying medical condition
  • Children, especially babies younger than two
  • People undergoing chemotherapy or taking medications that can suppress the immune system

For people with chronic lung and heart complications, pneumonia can quickly become life-threatening.

What are the complications associated with pneumonia?

Some people who have pneumonia may develop additional complications, such as:

  • Pleural effusion, or fluid that builds up around the lungs and can possibly become infected
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream that spreads to other organs and can potentially cause organ failure
  • Excessive breathing difficulties that require a ventilator (breathing machine)
  • Lung abscess, if pus becomes trapped in a lung cavity

How is pneumonia diagnosed and treated?

The medical professionals at Village Emergency Centers are highly trained in diagnosing and treating pneumonia. After performing an extensive exam, which may include advanced imaging, which the facility is equipped for, the doctor prescribes medication and therapies that help relieve your symptoms and tackle the source of the respiratory disease.

If you or your family members are enduring the symptoms of pneumonia, it's best to be safe. Visit the Village Emergency Centers for attentive, individualized emergency care at any time of day or night.

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