What Is Pneumonia?


Quick Answer

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection, according to WebMD. Pneumonia occurs when a person inhales pneumonia germs into the lungs or aspirates liquid or other debris into the lungs. People who are ill or who have chronic conditions are more prone to develop pneumonia.

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Full Answer

The symptoms of pneumonia generally have a rapid onset and may include a cough that produces green or blood-tinged sputum, notes WebMD. Other symptoms of pneumonia include fever, shortness of breath, rapid breathing and chills. Chest pain that worsens when breathing in or coughing, rapid heartbeat, tiredness, weakness, nausea, and vomiting are additional symptoms.

The first line of treatment for pneumonia is antibiotics, according to WebMD. The antibiotics used depend on symptoms and their severity. Doctors also look at the patient’s age and whether or not the patient requires hospitalization when deciding on the course of treatment and antibiotics prescribed. Most people begin to see an improvement in symptoms within three days of the commencement of treatment, and the faster the patient begins antibiotics following the development of pneumonia, the faster the recovery period.

If improvement in pneumonia symptoms does not occur within three days, the doctor may order a culture test to determine if the pneumonia is resistant to antibiotic therapy, advises WebMD. If so, the doctor can change the treatment plan and order different medications.

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