Pneumonia is an infection that can affect one or both lungs. It is caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi, but the most common type of pneumonia is bacterial. It is possible to catch bacterial and viral pneumonia from others through inhalation of droplets from a sneeze or cough.
Aspiration pneumonia is caused when bacteria are inhaled into your lungs from saliva, food, or drink. You’re more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia if you have problems swallowing or if you are affected by alcohol, illicit drugs, or some types of medications.
People who are already ill or who have compromised immune systems are more prone to aspiration pneumonia.
Pneumonia creates inflammation affecting the air sacs in your lungs, called alveoli and which can fill with fluid or pus, affecting your breathing.
Symptoms of pneumonia can be mild, or they may become life-threatening and include coughing that produces phlegm, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, chills, and sweating.
Symptoms can vary according to the severity of the infection and your overall health and age.
Initially, primary care physician will ask you about your symptoms and when they first appeared, and we will want to know your medical history. Our doctor internist will need to give you a physical exam which includes listening to your lungs for any abnormal sounds like crackling. Our primary care physicians will most likely want to take a chest x-ray.
Usually, pneumonia can be diagnosed using the information from your physical exam and chest x-ray. However, sometimes, primary care doctors may suggest further tests depending on the risk of complications and the severity of your symptoms.
Tests for pneumonia may include:
- A blood test to confirm the infection
- A sputum test can help to identify the cause of the infection
- A urine test can identify specific bacteria that may cause pneumonia
- Pulse oximetry uses an oxygen sensor placed on one of your fingers and can show if your lungs are transporting enough oxygen through your blood
- A CT scan can provide a clearer picture of your lungs
Another test is called a bronchoscopy, and which looks into the airways in your lungs using a camera on a flexible tube that is guided into your lungs. This test may be necessary if your symptoms are severe, you are not responding to antibiotics, or you are hospitalized. Once NYC doctors have the information from your tests, we can determine the best course of treatment.
Pneumonia Treatment in NYC
The treatment prescribed by NYC top doctors of Manhattan Primary Care Center will depend on the type of pneumonia. Our internists can prescribe antibiotics, antifungal, and anti-viral drugs to treat pneumonia. Most cases of bacterial pneumonia are treated with oral antibiotics at home. People typically begin to respond to antibiotic treatment in one to 3 days.
New York general practitioners of Manhattan Primary Care Center may also recommend over-the-counter medication to relieve fever and pain such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. Cough medicine can calm a cough, helping you to rest more easily, but sometimes coughing can help remove fluid from your lungs so it can be useful.
Aspiration Pneumonia Treatment
Aspiration pneumonia treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms, but usually, antibiotics are used to help eliminate the infection. It’s possible our internists may need to wait for your test results before prescribing antibiotics as some bacteria are resistant to specific antibiotics.
Aspiration pneumonia can be serious if you wait too long for treatment as the infection can spread to other areas of the body and especially to the bloodstream. It’s possible for abscesses to form in the lungs, and particularly severe infections may scar the lungs.
How to Treat Pneumonia at Home
Since many cases of pneumonia can be successfully treated at home, it’s important to follow our instructions closely. Make sure you take any drugs prescribed and that you complete the course of antibiotics.
It’s important to get plenty of rest and to drink lots of fluids. Resist the temptation to go back to work or school to soon as this could result in a recurrence of your pneumonia.
When Does Pneumonia Require Hospitalisation?
If your symptoms are especially severe or you have other health problems, you may need to be treated in hospital where your heart rate, breathing, and temperature can be monitored closely. During hospital treatment, you can be prescribed intravenous antibiotics.
Respiratory therapy can deliver specific medications into your lungs, and you may be shown breathing exercises to maximize oxygenation. If needed, oxygen therapy will maintain the oxygen level in your blood, and you can be given oxygen through a face mask or nasal tube.
Many cases of pneumonia are preventable with a vaccine. Two vaccines can help to protect against bacterial pneumonia, and since it can often develop because of flu, it’s important to have annual flu vaccines. Although a pneumonia vaccine won’t prevent all cases, it’s more likely that your illness will be milder and shorter with fewer risks of complications.
In addition to vaccination, make sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water and maintain a healthy lifestyle to protect your immune system. If you smoke, it’s best to quit.
Pneumonia Treatment Plan for Patients in NYC
The treatment prescribed by our internal medicine doctors will depend on the type of pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia We can prescribe antibiotics, antifungal, and anti-viral drugs to treat pneumonia
Please make an appointment with one of our pneumonia specialist in Midtown Manhattan or Upper East Side. Our primary care, internal medicine doctors look forward to meeting you!