How Common Is Pneumonia With Lung Cancer
Pneumonia and lung cancer are often experienced at the same time. Research has found that roughly 50% to 70% of people with lung cancer will experience pneumonia at some point during the course of their disease. Having pneumonia while battling lung cancer also increases the risk of severe or life-threatening consequences.
How Long Does It Last
It takes a certain amount of time to start to feel sick after getting exposed to a germ. This length of time is called the incubation period, and it depends on many things, especially which bug is causing the illness.
With influenza pneumonia, for example, someone may become sick as soon as 12 hours or as long as 3 days after exposure to the flu virus. But with walking pneumonia, a person may not feel it until 2 to 3 weeks after becoming infected.
Most types of pneumonia clear up within a week or two, although a cough can linger for several weeks more. In severe cases, it may take longer to completely recover.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
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Expected Clinical Course And Follow
Clinical improvement should be evident within 48 h of starting antibiotic therapy with bacterial pneumonia. However, improvement may be slower with viral pneumonia. If the patient does not show clinical improvement or worsens within the expected time frame, a chest radiograph or ultrasound should be repeated to look for evidence of a complication . Other reasons for lack of clinical resolution may include a foreign body aspiration, reactive airways disease with atelectasis, a congenital pulmonary anomaly, tuberculosis or unrecognized immunodeficiency with an opportunistic infection.
Radiographic resolution in most uncomplicated pneumonia cases may take up to four to six weeks. Repeat radiographs when children are otherwise well are not indicated to document improvement.
Can I Prevent Pneumonia
The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.
People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.
Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.
Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.
You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
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 About Hospital Treatment
Hospital admission may be advised if you have severe pneumonia, or if symptoms do not quickly improve after you have started antibiotic treatment. Also, you are more likely to be treated in hospital if you are already in poor health, or if an infection with a more serious infecting germ is suspected. For example, if infection with Legionella pneumophila is suspected. Even if you are in hospital, you are likely to be offered antibiotics in capsule, tablet or liquid form unless you have difficulties taking them, in which case they may be given through a vein. Your antibiotic treatment will be stopped after five days, unless you are very unwell.
Sometimes oxygen and other supportive treatments are needed if you have severe pneumonia. Those who become severely unwell may need treatment in an intensive care unit.
When you return home, even though the infection is treated, you may feel tired and unwell for some time.
Is There A Vaccine For Pneumonia
There isnt a vaccine for all types of pneumonia, but 2 vaccines are available. These help prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The first is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. The second is recommended for anyone age 2 or older who is at increased risk for pneumonia. Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:
- Are 65 years of age or older.
- Have certain chronic conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis.
- Have a weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged or removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or receiving chemotherapy.
- Have cochlear implants .
The pneumococcal vaccines cant prevent all cases of pneumonia. But they can make it less likely that people who are at risk will experience the severe, and possibly life-threatening, complications of pneumonia.
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Data Collection And Analysis
We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Two review authors independently assessed risk of bias and extracted data. We contacted study authors for additional information. We estimated risk ratios with 95% confidence intervals and pooled data using the MantelHaenszel fixedeffect model when possible.
Complications Caused By Pneumonia
Pneumonia can sometimes have complications. They include:
- pleurisy where the pleura, the thin linings between your lungs and ribcage, become inflamed, leading to chest pain. If you have pleurisy, you are more likely to develop fluid on the lungs.
- fluid on the lungs – about 1 in 10 people with pneumonia develop fluid around the lung, called a pleural effusion which can become infected. This may require a sample of the fluid to be taken by inserting a needle between the ribs under local anaesthetic, and if infected is likely to need a longer course of antibiotics. Occasionally, a tube is inserted into the lung to remove fluid as well.
- a lung abscess a rare complication thats mostly seen in people with a serious pre-existing illness or history of alcohol misuse.
- blood poisoning, also called septicaemia – this is where infection spreads from the lungs to the blood stream. This can cause low blood pressure and a severe illness that might need intensive care treatment.
- respiratory failure this is where pneumonia causes low levels of oxygen in the blood even in people given oxygen. This might also require intensive care treatment.
The vast majority of people recover from pneumonia and return to good health. However, pneumonia can be very serious and some people with severe pneumonia dont survive, despite the best available care. Those who are elderly or have other health problems are most at risk of severe or fatal pneumonia.
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Ask About Cough Medicine
You may be tempted to guzzle cough syrup. But keep in mind that coughing is your bodyâs way of trying to clear the mucus out of your lungs, and you need that to happen. So ask your doctor if you should take any cough medicine. If the hacking keeps you from getting enough rest, you may be able to take the smallest dose that lets you fall sleep. Or try a warm mixture of honey and lemon instead.
How Is Pneumonia Treated
When you get a pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.
Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic. It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
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What Are The Current Recommendations And What Are Their Limitations
In contrast to developing countries, criteria for diagnosing childhood pneumonia in developed nations often require chest radiographic confirmation, especially for hospitalised cases . Nevertheless, little information is available guiding treatment duration , although a recent small, single-centre, three-arm RCT from Israel of 140 non-hospitalised children aged < 5 years with likely bacterial pneumonia found that the 40 % failure rate of a 3 day course of amoxicillin was unacceptably high, while no failures were reported in those receiving either a 5 or 10 days course of the antibiotic . These data help support current national guidelines from developed countries recommending at least 5 days of antibiotics for children suspected of bacterial pneumonia .
When To Call A Doctor For Pneumonia
If you were recently diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia but are not getting better or are experiencing worsened symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. In some cases, pneumonia can get worse and complications can occur that require hospitalization.
Research has shown that corticosteroids, which are drugs designed to reduce inflammation, can also be used to treat pneumonia. They are helpful for decreasing the risk of death and the need for more serious medical interventions, such as ventilators or prolonged hospitalization in people who have more serious cases of infection.
If you are hospitalized, you are given medications through an IV directly into your bloodstream. You may also need help breathing, so oxygen therapy will be used. You could be given oxygen through a face mask, your nose, or another piece of medical equipment such as a ventilator.
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It Is Really Bacterial Pneumonia
Most studies on antibiotic duration were undertaken in low- and low-to-middle-income countries where the burden of pneumonia is greatest. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in these settings is also the most uncertain as it relies upon healthcare workers following clinical algorithms without adequate laboratory and radiographic support. Furthermore, no diagnostic gold standard for pneumonia exists, and there are major difficulties differentiating between viral and bacterial pneumonia clinically and radiographically, let alone obtaining an accurate microbiological cause .
Obtaining Cultures From The Lungs
To confirm the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, and to help direct therapy, it is important to obtain a sample from the lungs for cytology and culture. This can be important to help distinguish pneumonia from other causes of radiographic alveolar disease such as hemorrhage or neoplasia. A cytologic finding of suppurative inflammation can help confirm the diagnosis and can suggest chronicity if macrophages are found in addition to neutrophils. Cultures will subsequently confirm the presence of bacteria, and help to direct antibiotic therapy. In order to obtain samples that are free of pharyngeal contamination, techniques that by-pass the pharynx must be used to obtain the sample. Practical options for obtaining samples from the trachea include transtracheal or endotracheal washes. Although bronchoalveolar lavage is another good option, it is more invasive and involves more specialized equipment, and is not usually used as a first line diagnostic test for bacterial pneumonia.
TTA can be difficult to perform in very small and toy breeds of dogs, and in cats, due to the small size of the airway. In such small patients, it is preferable to anesthetize and intubate, and to perform the wash through a sterile endotracheal tube. Similarly, if the patient is to be anesthetized to perform another procedure, performing an endotracheal lavage may be easy and less stressful for the patient.
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Treatment For Chest Infections
Most people with bronchitis can be treated at home and make a full recovery. Assessment of the severity of pneumonia is complex. Some patients can be managed at home on simple antibiotics. Those assessed as severe may require admission to the intensive care unit and their illness may be life threatening.Treatment options include:
- Your doctor will advise you about any medications you need to get over this attack.
- Some people need to be admitted to hospital for further treatment, particularly young children and the elderly who are at greater risk of serious complications.
- Review with your local doctor may be needed within 48 hours, especially if you are not improving, and again in six weeks to make sure that you have made a full recovery. A chest x-ray may be needed at this time.
Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
If you have a bacterial chest infection, you should start to feel better 24 to 48 hours after starting on antibiotics. You may have a cough for days or weeks. For other types of chest infections, the recovery is more gradual. You may feel weak for some time and need a longer period of bed rest.Be guided by your doctor, but general self-care suggestions include:
- Take your medication as directed. Even if you feel better, finish the course of antibiotics.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Rest for a few days.
- Prop yourself up on a couple of pillows at night it will make it easier to sleep.
- Stop smoking, at least until you feel better, if you cant give up at this stage.
- Contact your local doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
- Go straight to your local doctor or the nearest hospital emergency department if you have trouble breathing, have a high fever or feel worse.
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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.