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Pneumonia facts

  • Pneumonia is inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs, most commonly due to an infection.
  • Pneumonia may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi; less frequently by other causes.
  • The most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
  • Signs and symptoms of pneumonia include
  • This article discusses both community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), which is acquired outside of the health-care setting, and hospital-acquired (or health-care-acquired) pneumonia (HAP), which is typically more serious.
  • About 20% of those with CAP require treatment in a hospital.
  • Antibiotics treat pneumonia by controlling the bacterial or fungal infection. The initial choice of antibiotic depends on the organism presumed to be causing the infection as well as local patterns of antibiotic resistance.
  • Pneumonia can be fatal in up to 30% of severe cases that are managed in the intensive-care setting.
  • Complications of pneumonia include sepsis, pleural effusion, and empyema.
  • Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the most common viral causes of pneumonia.
  • Antiviral medications may be used to treat pneumonia caused by some types of viruses.
  • Most kinds of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious, but tuberculosis and Mycoplasma pneumonia are exceptions.
  • A chest X-ray is typically done to diagnose pneumonia.
  • Risk factors for pneumonia include age over 65 or under 2, having certain chronic medical conditions (including underlying lung disease, cigarette smoking, alcoholism, and neurological problems), or sustaining injuries that interfere with swallowing or coughing.
  • Vaccinations are available against several common organisms that are known to cause pneumonia.
Reviewed on 4/25/2017

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