Doctors Warn Untreated Allergy Issues Could Lead To Pneumonia
- May 18, 2010
CHATTANOOGA – The beautiful weather can lead to horrible problems for allergy sufferers.
“Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, congested nose, congested head, congested chest.” A stroll outside when the pollen level is high can kick off April Brown’s allergies. “Sinus infections, I’ve had bronchitis, I’ve had colds that turned into bronchitis.”
“There’s a lot of allergies because the tree pollen in this area is very, very high but during this time of year we see a lot of over lap between winter colds and summer colds as well,” explains pediatrician Dr. Chris Dreiling.
This doctor’s office stays busy with coughing kids coming in with upper respiratory problems.
Four-year-old Haley checked in with croup.
“She, almost every year, after we get the croup, we end up with at least one ear infection, if not two,” says Haley’s mother, Angela Ponce.
With more patients earlier in the season, doctors worry that the uptick in upper respiratory problems, if untreated, could turn into more cases of pneumonia.
“That’s what you absolutely don’t want to see,” says Dr. Dreiling. “That can put a child into the hospital. It’s much more dangerous than other sorts of complications.”
Doctors say if the allergies are clobbering you, use a saline wash to clean your sinuses out. And try showering before going to bed to wash all the pollen off.
Of course if you still have concerns or problems, check with a local allergist.
What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacteria pneumonia is caused by bacteria that works its way into the lungs and then multiplies. It can occur on its own or develop after another illness, like a cold or the flu. People who have a higher risk for pneumonia may:
- have weakened immune systems
- have respiratory diseases
- be recovering from surgery
Doctors classify bacterial pneumonia based on whether it developed inside or outside a hospital.
Community-acquired pneumonia : This is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia. CAP occurs when you get an infection after exposure to bacterial agents outside of a healthcare setting. You can get CAP by breathing in respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, or by skin-to-skin contact.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia : HAP occurs within two to three days of exposure to germs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctors office. This is also called a nosocomial infection. This type of pneumonia is often more resistant to antibiotics and more is difficult to treat than CAP.
Key Points About Pneumonia In Children
- Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. It can be mild or serious.
- The illness can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Some common symptoms include fever, cough, tiredness , and chest pain.
- Treatment depends on the cause of the pneumonia.
- Some types of pneumonia can be prevented with a vaccine. Good handwashing and hygiene can also help.
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What Is The Recovery Time For Covid
The recovery time for COVID-19 pneumonia ranges from 3-6 weeks or even longer. Recovering from pneumonia and regaining strength can take weeks to months.
During recovery, the body first repairs the damage caused to the lungs. Next, it clears the fluid and debris from the lungs.
Recovery may depend on your:
- Overall health
What Are Risk Factors For Developing Covid
Factors that can increase the risk of developing COVID-19 pneumonia include:
- Disease severity: More severe cases are more likely to cause lung complications.
- Treatment: Prompt, quality treatment of COVID-19 can help minimize the risk of lung damage.
- Medical conditions: People with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of developing pneumonia with COVID-19:
Although anyone can get COVID-19, people with the following risk factors have a greater chance of developing pneumonia as a complication:
- Age over 65
- Conditions that compromise the immune system such as AIDS and cancers
- Taking cancer medications or steroids
Even if you do not have the risk factors listed above, it is important to exercise caution and practice safety measures to protect yourself against COVID-19.
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
The faster you get treatment, the faster you will get over pneumonia. This is especially true for the very young, for people older than 65, and for anyone with other long-lasting health problems, such as asthma.
911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
- Have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing, is increasing in intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attack.
- Have such bad trouble breathing that you are worried you will not have the strength or ability to keep breathing.
- Cough up large amounts of blood.
- Feel that you may faint when you sit up or stand.
if you have:
- A cough that produces blood-tinged or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs.
- A fever with shaking chills.
- Difficult, shallow, fast breathing with shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Frequently brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs and lasts longer than 2 days. Do not confuse mucus from your lungs with mucus running down the back of your throat from your nasal passages . Post-nasal drainage is not a worry.
- Occurs with a fever of 38.3Â°C or higher and brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs .
- Causes you to vomit a lot.
- Continues longer than 4 weeks.
Also call your doctor if you have new chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing and if you have other symptoms of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
Besides Vaccination What Else Can I Do To Prevent Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia
Receiving all recommended vaccinations is one of the best ways to prevent pneumonia. Additionally, there are several other ways to prevent pneumonia, including:
- Quitting smoking, and avoiding secondhand smoke. Smoking damages your lungs.
- Washing your hands before eating, before handling food, after using the restroom, and after being outside. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding being around people who are sick. Ask them to visit when they are feeling better.
- Not touching or sharing objects that are shared with others. Germs can be transferred from object to you if you touch your nose or mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
- Eating a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough rest. Healthy habits keep your immune system strong.
- Getting treated for any other infections or health conditions you may have. These conditions could weaken your immune system, which could increase your chance of infections.
- Avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.
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Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine In Babies
Mild side effects of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , which is the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to babies under the age of 2, include:
- a decreased appetite
- redness and swelling at the site of the injection
- feeling sleepy or not sleeping well
Serious side effects of the PCV vaccine are rare, and include:
- a high temperature, possibly leading to convulsions
- allergic reactions, such as an itchy skin rash
What Happens When You Get Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease can lead to many different illnesses. What illness you get depends on where the bacteria goes in your body. If the bacteria spreads to your lungs, it can cause pneumonia. The bacteria can also get into the bloodstream and cause sepsis. If the bacteria gets to the central nervous system, it can cause meningitis. All forms of pneumococcal disease are very dangerous.2-4
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How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better
How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:
- Your age
- The cause of your pneumonia
- The severity of your pneumonia
- If you have other at-risk conditions
If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.
What Are Symptoms Of Covid
Pneumonia is a serious condition in which the lungs get filled with fluid and pus, resulting in severe breathing difficulties. With COVID-19pneumonia, the virus tends to attack both lungs, causing both air sacs to fill with fluid and reduce their capacity to hold in oxygen. This can lead to symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do a physical exam. He or she may order a chest X-ray and a complete blood count . This is usually enough for your doctor to know if you have pneumonia. You may need more tests if you have bad symptoms, are an older adult, or have other health problems. In general, the sicker you are, the more tests you may need.
Your doctor may also test mucus from your lungs to find out if bacteria are causing your pneumonia. Finding out what is causing your pneumonia can help your doctor choose the best treatment for you. However, often the organism can’t be found and a broad-spectrum antibiotic may be given.
What Tests Are Available For Farmer’s Lung
There is no single, simple test to distinguish between Farmer’s Lung and other types of lung diseases. The most important evidence for Farmer’s Lung is the history of exposure to dust from moldy hay or other moldy crops and the development of signs and symptoms 4 to 8 hours later. This awareness is why it is so important for a doctor to know if a patient with shortness of breath has been exposed to moldy crops.
A physician may request a number of tests including:
- a lung x-ray,
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How Is Aspiration Pneumonia Diagnosed
Generally, the first thing your provider will do in any situation is take a complete medical history and perform a physical examination. Theyll ask you about your current signs and symptoms. One thing that is a little tricky about aspiration pneumonia is that often no one actually sees you breathe in an object or food or saliva.
In addition to taking note of your symptoms, your provider will order tests such as:
- Chest X-ray and/or a computed tomography scan. In cases of aspiration pneumonia, inflammation is often seen at the bottom of your lungs.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
- Breathing symptoms that get worse
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
- Fast or painful breathing
- Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
- Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
- Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement
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Why Are People With Asthma At Risk
For people with asthma, pneumococcal disease can be very serious. But doctors dont fully understand why. It may be because airways with asthma are different. It may make the lungs more likely to be affected by pneumococcal bacteria and infection. Corticosteroids, a common asthma medicine, may also increase your risk because they suppress your immune system.6-8 This is why health care providers say you should get the vaccine for pneumococcal disease if you have asthma.1
How Common Is Farmer’s Lung
There is little information on the exact number of people with Farmer’s Lung in Canada. Studies show that incidence varies from place to place. The disease seems to occur in about 2 to 10 percent of farm workers, depending on the region. In some areas, blood tests have shown that 20 to 40 percent of farm workers have antibodies that react with antigens responsible for Farmer’s Lung. This test indicates that people have had at least an initial exposure to moldy dust.
The disease is most common in regions with wet weather at harvest time. Farmer’s Lung is also more common on dairy farms, especially those not equipped with automated equipment for handling hay or feed. Incidents of Farmer’s Lung occur most often in late winter or early spring when stored hay or grain is used to feed livestock.
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What Is Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults.
Types of bacteria that cause pneumonia include:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Chlamydophila pneumoniae
- Haemophilus influenzae type B
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in adults, called pneumococcal pneumonia.
It may be prevented by a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two pneumonia vaccines for adults 65 years and older: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or Prevnar 13 , and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or Pneumovax 23 .
According to the CDC:
- You should receive a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine first, followed at least one year later by a dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine .
- If you’ve already received any doses of PPSV23, the dose of PCV13 should be given at least one year after the most recent PPSV23 dose.
- If you’ve already received a dose of the PCV13 at a younger age, another dose is not recommended.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae usually infects younger adults who work in crowded areas, such as schools, homeless shelters, or prisons.
Chlamydophila pneumoniae causes a mild pneumonia infection that usually affects people older than 60.
Other bacterial pneumonia symptoms include:
- High fever
- Sore throat
How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
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How Many Doses Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine Do I Need
Most adults only need the vaccine once. But your doctor may recommend you get another shot if its been a while since you have the vaccine or for other reasons. Ask your doctor how often you need the shot.
You do not have to get the pneumococcal vaccine every year, like the flu shot. You may only need to get it once and a booster shot a few years later. Find out what your doctor recommends.
Spreading Pneumonia To Others
If your pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria, you may spread the infection to other people while you are contagious. How long you are contagious depends on what is causing the pneumonia and whether you get treatment. You may be contagious for several days to a week.
If you get antibiotics, you usually cannot spread the infection to others after a day of treatment.
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How Can I Prevent Aspiration Pneumonia Or Reduce My Risk Of Getting Aspiration Pneumonia
Things that you can do to reduce your risk of aspiration pneumonia include the following:
- Avoid drinking alcohol to excess and using recreational drugs. These can affect your ability to swallow.
- Stay upright when you are eating.
- Chew slowly and completely.
- If you have problems swallowing , talk to your healthcare provider. They might need to change or adjust your diet or medication. They can also order tests or refer you to a speech professional or swallowing specialist.
- Dont smoke or use nicotine products.
- Take good care of your teeth.
When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia
You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:
- Shortness of breath or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Mucus, fever or cough
If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.
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When Does A Cough Turn Into Pneumonia
If you prefer to listen to this article, click on the SoundCloud player below.
So youve been coughing for a while, and instead of getting better, it seems like your cough is getting worse. Maybe youve even started coughing up phlegm or have pain in your chest when you cough. Those are signs your cough might actually be pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs that can range from mild to life-threatening, which causes your lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. You may experience difficulty breathing or have a fever. If youre a healthy young adult, pneumonia might not be as serious as it is for very young kids or adults over age 65.
Whether youve had your cough for three days or three weeks, knowing the symptoms of pneumonia and when to go to the doctor can help put your mind at ease.
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.
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