Why Does It Take So Long To Recover From Pneumonia
I was diagnosed with pneumonia in October. The doctor told me to rest, really rest. She told me to expect to feel better after a couple of days of antibiotics, but that I still must rest. She told me I would have good days, but they would be followed by bad days.
After a week of antibiotics, the bacteria causing my illness – presumably Streptococcus pneumonia – should have been dead. Also called pneumococcus, this pathogen is the most common perpetrator of community-acquired pneumonia, which is pneumonia that people get outside hospitals and nursing homes. The antibiotic I received, a common first-line treatment, covers pneumococcus as well as other bacterial invaders.
Yet my doctor told me to expect weeks to months of recovery. Friends with recent pneumonia experience confirmed this rather depressing outlook. Pneumonia can vary in severity so not everyone will need months to recover.
The scientific literature concurs with the anecdotal evidence I collected. One study followed 576 adult patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Thirty days after diagnosis, 65 percent of them reported fatigue, nearly half of whom said their fatigue was moderate to severe 53 percent reported cough and 36 percent reported shortness of breath. Ninety days after diagnosis, 51 percent reported fatigue, 32 percent cough, and 28 percent shortness of breath.
Why does it take so long to recover from pneumonia?
What Is Covid Pneumonia
Dr. Lee: Pneumonia occurs when a bacterial or viral infection causes significant damage and inflammation in the lungs. The resulting fluid and debris build-up makes it hard for a person to breathe sometimes to such an extent that oxygen therapy or ventilator support is required. Regardless of the bacteria or virus causing it, pneumonia can become very serious, even life-threatening.
In the case of COVID pneumonia, the damage to the lungs is caused by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
When COVID pneumonia develops, it causes additional symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
What’s more is that COVID pneumonia often occurs in both lungs, rather than just one lung or the other. Additionally, the widespread inflammation that occurs in some people with COVID-19 can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome a severe type of lung failure.
Like other respiratory infections that cause pneumonia, COVID-19 can cause short-term lung damage. In more severe cases, the damage can last a long time. In fact, early data is showing that up to a third of COVID pneumonia patients have evidence of scarring on X-rays or lung testing a year after the infection.
What Is The Incubation Period For Pneumonia
The incubation period for pneumonia depends on the type of pathogen causing the disease, the person’s age, and his or her overall health. In general, most pneumonias begin with symptoms similar to those of a cold or the flu that last longer than the flu and become more severe. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia include
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Types Of Antibiotics For Pneumonia
There are multiple types of antibiotics that work in slightly different ways. Some are more commonly used to treat pneumonia than others based on things like:
- The bacteria causing infection
- The severity of the infection
- If youre in a patient group at greatest risk from pneumonia
The types of antibiotics that your doctor might typically prescribe for pneumonia include the following:
Antibiotics prescribed for children with pneumonia include the following:
- Infants, preschoolers, and school-aged children with suspected bacterial pneumonia may be treated with amoxicillin.
- Children with suspected atypical pneumonia can be treated with macrolides.
- Children allergic to penicillin will be treated with other antibiotics as needed for the specific pathogen.
- Hospitalized, immunized children can be treated with ampicillin or penicillin G.
- Hospitalized children and infants who are not fully vaccinated may be treated with a cephalosporin.
- Hospitalized children with suspected M. pneumoniae or C. pneumoniae infection may be treated with combination therapy of a macrolide and a beta-lactam antibiotic .
- Hospitalized children with suspected S. aureus infections might be treated with a combination of Vancocin or clindamycin and a beta-lactam.
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Types Of Doctors Who Treat Pneumonia
In some cases, primary-care physicians, including pediatricians, internists, and family medicine specialists may treat pneumonia. In more severe cases, other types of specialists may be involved in caring for the patient with pneumonia. These include infectious-disease specialists, pulmonologists, critical-care specialists, and hospitalists.
Is Pneumonia Contagious Yes When It’s Caused By Bacteria Or Viruses
- Most types of pneumonia are contagious.
- When pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria as it usually is it can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets.
- To prevent the spread of pneumonia, you should practice good hygiene, work to boost your immune system, refrain from smoking, and get the necessary vaccines.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to fill with fluid or pus. Each year, more than 250,000 Americans are hospitalized with pneumonia, and about 50,000 die from the disease.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the type and severity, but they typically include:
- Difficulty breathing
There are many different types of pneumonia and most of them can be contagious. Here’s what you need to know about the types of pneumonia, how they spread, and how to protect yourself.
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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.
Antibiotics For Pneumonia: What You Should Know
Antibiotics work to kill bacteria, so they are not successful against viruses. Because pneumonia can be caused by fungus or viruses, antibiotics should only be prescribed when it has been confirmed that the cause is bacterial. Taking unnecessary antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance.
In general, antibiotics have a high cure rate for pneumonia and patients can start noticing an improvement within two to three days.
Like other medications, antibiotics for pneumonia may cause side effects, but the benefits typically outweigh. If you experience troubled breathing or swelling of the face, tongue, and mouth, you should call 911 immediately. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, a metallic taste in your mouth, and dizziness. Along with your antibiotic treatment, ensure you are getting plenty of rest so your body can heal.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Valley Fever
Because Valley fever develops in the lungs, its symptoms are like those of the flu .
Symptoms of Valley fever may include:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Skin rash
Often, Valley fever infections dont cause any symptoms. Mild flu-like symptoms may disappear on their own after a few weeks or months. With a severe infection, symptoms may last longer.
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What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Pneumonia
Your child’s doctor may order a to diagnose pneumonia. The cause of some types of pneumonia can be determined by culturing the bacteria taken from the mucus an ill child produces from coughing. This helps doctors determine what types of treatments will work best. Some viral pneumonias can be diagnosed by testing nasal secretions.
What Is Pneumonia Again
Just a quick refresher: Pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Pneumonia causes the air sacscalled alveoliof the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. That can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like a cough with or without mucus, fever, chills, and trouble breathing.
Pneumonia can be severe, and sometimes even fatal. “Pneumonia can kill you,”David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Health. “It used to be one of the leading causes of death in this country and the world. It’s only since the development of antibiotics and vaccines to prevent pneumonia that it’s no longer the case.”
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Limit Contact With Others
One of the best things you can do when recovering from pneumonia is to limit your contact with others. As weve learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemicwhich can cause viral pneumoniastaying at least six feet away from others reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to as you breathe or talk.
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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What Is The Recovery Time For Covid Pneumonia
Dr. Lee: Regardless of what causes it, regaining strength after pneumonia can take quite a long time from several weeks to many months.
During COVID pneumonia recovery, your body first has to repair the damage caused to the lungs then it has to deal with clearing leftover fluid and debris and, finally, scarring until the tissue is fully healed over all of which come with unpleasant symptoms.
For the 15% of infected individuals who develop moderate to severe COVID-19 and are admitted to the hospital for a few days and require oxygen, the average recovery time ranges between three to six weeks.
For the 5% who develop severe or critical illness, recovery can take much longer.
Everyone’s recovery is unique and depends on:
- Your overall health
- Whether you have preexisting conditions
- The severity of your infection
If you are recovering from COVID pneumonia and experiencing persistent problems, I recommend seeing your doctor for a follow-up evaluation. If your recovery is prolonged, he or she may recommend a specialized program, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, to help get you back on track.
In some cases, patients will have lingering symptoms after the initial COVID-19 infection, often called post-COVID syndrome. These “long haulers” can have variety of problems, since the virus can attack not only the lungs, but also the heart, kidneys and brain. Your doctor can also help you manage these lingering symptoms.
What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia
Doctors often refer to typical and atypical pneumonias, based on the signs and symptoms of the condition. This can help to predict the type of bacteria causing the pneumonia, the duration of the illness, and the optimal treatment method.
Typical pneumonia comes on very quickly.
- Typical pneumonia usually results in a high fever and shaking chills.
- Typical pneumonia usually leads to the production of yellow or brown sputum when coughing.
- There may be chest pain, which is usually worse with breathing or coughing. The chest also may be sore when it is touched or pressed.
- Typical pneumonia can cause shortness of breath, especially if the person has any chronic lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
- Because chest pain also can be a sign of other serious medical conditions, do not try to self-diagnose.
- Older people can have confusion or a change in their mental abilities as a sign of pneumonia or other infection.
Atypical pneumonia has a gradual onset.
- It is often referred to as “walking pneumonia.”
- Sometimes it follows another illness in the days to weeks before the pneumonia.
- The fever is usually lower, and shaking chills are less likely.
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Is Pneumonia Contagious After Antibiotics
If you have bacterial pneumonia, your health care provider will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. In many cases, you are no longer considered contagious once you’ve been taking antibiotics for 2448 hours. However, this time period can vary based on the type of pneumonia you have, the antibiotic you’re taking and other factors.
Incubation Period And Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The incubation period is the time from when you pick up the pneumonia virus to when you actively display symptoms. Many variables affect this, including the type of pneumonia, your general health, and your age. You may assume that you have a cold or the flu when symptoms begin because they are quite similar. However, they last longer and become more severe with time instead of less.
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What Is The Prognosis For Bacterial Pneumonia
The prognosis depends on the severity of disease and whether there are any predisposing factors. The prognosis is generally good for uncomplicated bacterial pneumonia. The prognosis for animals with predisposing factors depends on whether the risk factor can be treated or resolved. If the risk factors cannot be resolved, recurrent infections may occur. The prognosis for young or geriatric animals, patients with immunodeficiency diseases, or patients that are debilitated is guarded.Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH
How Is Bacterial Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your veterinarian may suspect bacterial pneumonia based on the presence of the signs listed above, combined with the results of a physical examination, especially if abnormal lung sounds are heard when listening to your dogs chest with a stethoscope.
A series of tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude other diseases that could be causing the symptoms, including:
- CBC and biochemistry profile. These blood tests will assess the general health of your dog, and specific blood or fecal tests may be recommended to rule out parasitic diseases such as heartworm or lungworm. Specific blood tests to rule out serious metabolic diseases may be necessary.
- Thoracic radiography . Radiographs often show characteristic changes in the lungs, and may be helpful to eliminate other types of heart or lung disease.
- Cytology using bronchoscopy. A small fiber optic camera called a bronchoscope is used to directly examine the inner surfaces of the airways in an anesthetized dog. After completing the visual examination, cytology samples can be collected for microscopic examination and for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing.
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