How Your Doctor Chooses
Your doctor will select the right antibiotic for you based on multiple factors, including:
- Your age: People 65 and older have a greater risk of serious complications from pneumonia infections.
- Your health history: A history of smoking, lung diseases, or other conditions may influence a person’s ability to fight off infections.
- The exact infection you have: Your doctor may take a sample and test it for bacteria. They can then pick an antibiotic based on your specific infection.
- Your previous experiences with antibiotics: Make sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, had bad reactions to antibiotics in the past, or have developed an antibacterial-resistant infection.
- The antibiotic sensitivity of the bacteria: The lab will test the bacteria causing your pneumonia to determine which antibiotics it is sensitive or resistant to.
Doctors typically choose your antibiotics prescription based on what medicines they think will be most effective and cause the fewest side effects.
How Do You Diagnose Pneumonia
- Symptoms – a doctor will suspect pneumonia from asking about your symptoms and how you are feeling. They may also ask about your medical history and that of your family. They will be interested in whether you smoke, how much and for how long. The examination may include checking your temperature. Sometimes your doctor will check how much oxygen is circulating around your body. This is done with a small device that sits on the end of your finger. The doctor will listen to your chest, so they may want you to lift or take off your top. If you want a chaperone during the examination, the doctor will arrange one. If you have asthma, they may ask you to check your peak flow measurement. They will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. Tapping your chest over the infected lung is also sometimes performed. This is called percussion. An area of infected lung may sound dull.
- X-ray – a chest X-ray may be required to confirm the diagnosis and to see how serious the infection is.
- Other tests – these tests are usually carried out if you need to be admitted to hospital. They include sending a sample of phlegm for analysis and blood cultures to check if the infection has spread to your blood.
When To Use Antibiotics
The recommendations urge doctors to level with their patients, explain the likely course of the viral infection, and cut way back on antibiotics:
- For the common cold: Doctors should not prescribe them.
- For a typical chest cold : Doctors should not prescribe antibiotics unless they suspect the patient has pneumonia.
- For a sore throat: Doctors should use antibiotics only if a test has confirmed that the patient has strep throat, which is a bacterial infection.
- For an uncomplicated sinus infection: Doctors should use antibiotics only for persistent, severe, or worsening cases.
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What About The Influenza And Pneumococcal Vaccines
Because the flu is a common cause of pneumonia, consider getting your flu vaccine. This is one of the reasons we recommend the flu vaccine, because not only can you get the flu virus and feel really miserable, but you can end up with a secondary bacterial infection which could be very serious or even fatal, Dr. Cameron says.
There is also a pneumococcal vaccine, which offers protection from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. The shot is recommended for children younger than 5 and adults 65 and older. It is also advised for children and adults who are at an increased risk of pneumonia due to other health conditions.
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Pneumonia is an infection that inflames air sacs in one or both lungs, which may fill with fluid. Viruses, bacteria, or fungi cause it, but the most common type of pneumonia is bacterial. You can catch bacterial and viral pneumonia from others by inhaling droplets from a sneeze or cough. Your doctor of internal medicine Manhattan should evaluate all symptoms for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
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When Does Pneumonia Require Hospitalisation
If your symptoms are especially severe or you have other health problems, you may need to stay in hospital. That way, we can monitor your heart rate and breathing closely. During hospital treatment, you can be prescribed intravenous antibiotics.
Respiratory therapy can deliver specific medications into your lungs, and the specialist may show you 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. Your doctor will help you formulate the right treatment plan.
Most Sinus Infections Dont Require Antibiotics
Ah, . The New England Journal of Medicine published a clinical practice review of acute sinus infections in adults, that is, sinus infections of up to four weeks. The need for an updated review was likely spurred by the disconcerting fact that while the vast majority of acute sinus infections will improve or even clear on their own without antibiotics within one to two weeks, most end up being treated with antibiotics.
It is this discrepancy that has clinical researchers and public health folks jumping up and down in alarm, because more unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics mean more side effects and higher bacterial resistance rates. But on the other hand, while 85% of sinus infections improve or clear on their own, theres the 15% that do not. Potential complications are rare, but serious, and include brain infections, even abscesses.
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Questions To Bring Up At Your Doctors Visit
Its normal to have questions about antibiotics, so dont hesitate to ask your doctor!
Antibiotics arent completely risk-free, so youll want to make sure you understand why youre taking them and how to take them safely if your doctor prescribes them. Consider asking these questions:
How does this antibiotic treat my infection?
What should I do if I dont start feeling better even after Ive finished my antibiotics?
What kinds of side effects should I expect?
How long will it take for the antibiotics to work?
Could this antibiotic interact with any medications or supplements Im taking already?
How will I know if Im allergic to this antibiotic?
Between your doctors expert advice and these tips on how to take antibiotics, you should be well-prepared for a safe course of treatment.
If your doctor doesnt prescribe antibiotics, it doesnt mean you wont get better. Answers to these questions may help you understand how you can manage your infection without antibiotics:
Why wont antibiotics treat this infection?
How can I manage the symptoms of this infection without antibiotics?
What should I do if I dont start feeling better soon?
Why Your Doctor Won’t Prescibe Antibiotics
Why are some doctors so stingy with antibiotics? House Call Doctor reveals the dangers of antibiotic overuse. Plus – the reason why it’s so hard to get a prescription for antibiotics over the phone
Have you ever wondered why doctors seem so stingy with antibiotic prescriptions?
I mean, here you are suffering from a nasty cold and you simply cannot be sick right now . Whats the harm in taking a few anti-bacterial zappers? They couldnt hurt, right? Why cant these stuffy doctors just give in a little?
A new patient recently came to see me in clinic. He decided to switch primary care doctors after his previous doctor wouldnt write a prescription for a second round of antibiotics without seeing him in clinic.
Initially, the patient self-diagnosed with a sinus infection, called his doctor, was given one round of antibiotics that didnt seem to work. So he tried to call in for another round but was denied. He was distraught and angry.
I cant come in for every little thing just because he wants to collect my copay and make money off every visit, he exclaimed. So I told him Im finding a new doctor!”
It’s a valid question: Why are some doctors hesitant about prescribing antibiotics, especially without a visit?
Unfortunately, in spite of what you may have heard, antibiotics dont do a thing for viruses.
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Cough And Cold Medicines
Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.
Always check to see if any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines you are taking contain acetaminophen. If they do, make sure the acetaminophen you are taking in your cold medicine plus any other acetaminophen you may be taking is not higher than the daily recommended dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much you can take every day.
How Long Youll Take Them
A course of antibiotics for uncomplicated pneumonia treatment is usually for five to seven days. One course will usually be enough to cure your pneumonia. In some cases, you may need more than one course of antibiotics if your infection doesnt start improving or it seems like its not responding to the medications.
Stay in touch with your doctor to ensure your infection is clearing up. Youll likely start to feel better and have some symptom relief one to three days after you start your pneumonia treatment, but it may take a week or more for your symptoms to go away completely.
Taking your medication as prescribed, especially for antibiotics, is incredibly important. Even if youre feeling better, you need to take the entire course.
Do not stop taking antibiotics early, even if your symptoms improve, as the infection would not be fully treated and could become antibiotic-resistant. This will make treatment more complicated. If youre experiencing side effects, talk to your doctor. Only stop your medication if your doctor tells you its OK to do so.
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Comparison With Other Studies
Our findings are similar to other studies that suggest most GPs acknowledge that patient pressure or perceived pressure influences their decision to prescribe antibiotics. A recent survey of 1000 GPs in the UK, found that 55% felt under pressure, mainly from patients, to prescribe antibiotics, even if they were not sure that they were necessary, and 44% admitted that they had prescribed antibiotics to get a patient to leave the surgery. A similar proportion had prescribed antibiotics for a viral infection, knowing that they would not be effective.
When And Why To Prescribe Antibiotics In Bronchiolitis In Children
Bronchiolitis is a self limiting easy to diagnose acute respiratory infection in children below 4 years of age. National and International guidelines do discourage use of x-rays for diagnosis and use of steroids, antibiotics for treatment of same.
In SE Asia monsoon plays a major role in causing, promoting and spreading various viral infections in children including flu, pneumonia and bronchiolitis. These clinical syndromes often overlap in clinical pictures of fever,wheeze,tachypnea complex making the differential diagnosis difficult.
Also, younger infants do have low immunity and local immune-suppression of respiratory epithelium may make the infant prone for secondary viral or bacterial infections eventually worsening the situation. Pediatricians are the professional most scared of bacterial infections and overuse antibiotics in respiratory system infection as judgements by different pediatricians may be different at different stages of disease in a single day due to dynamic nature of respiratory infections. A viral infection which is today rhinitis, tomorrow may be bronchiolitis or pneumonia which is not that easy to predict when child is not hospitalized and monitored for the same.
4. Bronchiolitis with asymmetry of clinical signs : In a suspected case of bronchiolitis asymmetry of nodes, throat patches or lobar consolidation should warrant an appropriate antibacterial course.
Competing interests: No competing interests
27 June 2016
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How Is Walking Pneumonia Different
Walking pneumonia, also known as atypical pneumonia, is caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. It usually causes cold-like symptoms, in addition to a fever and a hacking cough. It is most common in school-aged children and young adults, says Annette Cameron, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatrician.
Because this type of pneumonia typically causes milder symptoms, it may go undiagnosed for a while, especially if the child is able to participate in normal activities and isnt as visibly sick as he or she would be with other forms of pneumonia. And thats why its called walking pneumonia, Dr. Cameron says. It might just be a little bit of malaise. Sometimes you can have community-acquired, or bacterial pneumonia, along with walking pneumonia, in which case we would just treat both of them.
Is Pneumonia Contagious
In general, pneumonia is not contagious, but the upper respiratory viruses and bacteria that lead to it are. When these germs are in someones mouth or nose, that person can spread the illness through coughs and sneezes.
Sharing drinking glasses and eating utensils, and touching used tissues or handkerchiefs of an infected person also can spread pneumonia. If someone in your home has a respiratory infection or throat infection, keep their drinking glasses and eating utensils separate from those of other family members, and wash your hands well and often, especially if you’re handling used tissues or dirty handkerchiefs.
What To Expect At Home
You will still have symptoms of pneumonia after you leave the hospital.
- Your cough will slowly get better over 7 to 14 days.
- Sleeping and eating may take up to a week to return to normal.
- Your energy level may take 2 weeks or more to return to normal.
You will need to take time off work. For a while, you might not be able to do other things that you are used to doing.
Pneumonia Treatment In Nyc
The treatment prescribed by the top NYC 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. You can treat most cases of bacterial pneumonia 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 rest more easily, but sometimes coughing can help remove fluid from your lungs.
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What To Do Instead
If you have a respiratory infection, Consumer Reports recommends these steps for easing your symptoms while your body is fighting the infection.
- Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
- Use a humidifier .
- Ease pain and reduce fever with acetaminophen and ibuprofen .
- For nasal discomfort, use saline drops or spray.
- To soothe a sore throat, gargle with salt water, drink warm beverages, or eat or drink something cool.
- To ease a cough, breathe steam from a kettle or shower. For mild, short-term relief, try an over-the-counter cough medicine that has dextromethorphan.
How Is It Treated
Antibiotics are the usual treatment, because the organism may not be found. But if the pneumonia is caused by a virus, antivirals may be given. Sometimes, antibiotics may be used to prevent complications.
Antibiotics usually cure pneumonia caused by bacteria. Be sure to take the antibiotics exactly as instructed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Pneumonia can make you feel very sick. But after you take antibiotics, you should start to feel much better, although you will probably not be back to normal for several weeks. Call your doctor if you do not start to feel better after 2 to 3 days of antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you feel worse.
There are things you can do to feel better during your treatment. Get plenty of rest and sleep, and drink lots of liquids. Do not smoke. If your cough keeps you awake at night, talk to your doctor about using cough medicine.
You may need to go to the hospital if you have bad symptoms, a weak immune system, or another serious illness.
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Take Steps To Help Your Body Recover
The following steps can help your body recover from pneumonia.
- Choose heart-healthy foods, because good nutrition helps your body recover.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help you stay hydrated.
- Dont drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Alcohol and illegal drugs weaken your immune system and can raise the risk of complications from pneumonia.
- Dont smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Breathing in smoke can worsen your pneumonia. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. For free help quitting smoking, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Get plenty of sleep. Good quality sleep can help your body rest and improve the response of your immune system. For more information on sleep, visit our How Sleep Works health topic.
- Get light physical activity. Moving around can help you regain your strength and improve your recovery. However, you may still feel short of breath, and activity that is too strenuous may make you dizzy. Talk to your doctor about how much activity is right for you.
- Sit upright to help you feel more comfortable and breathe more easily.
- Take a couple of deep breaths several times a day.