Pneumonia is a lower respiratory infection, which therefore affects lung tissue. This disease is the leading cause of death from infectious disease in France. While mild pneumonia can be treated at home with antibiotics and rest, more severe cases should be treated in a hospital setting. In the most severe cases, antibiotics are given intravenously and the patient is intubated and put on artificial respiration. Pneumonia is everything, except a condition to be taken lightly, it will not go away on its own.
Method 1 of 4: Treat pneumonia
Step 1. Beware of mild cases
Get immediate follow-up from your doctor who will prescribe outpatient treatment. If this pneumonia affects a child, the doctor will judge the seriousness and possibly make him hospitalized, if he considers it necessary. Your doctor will start with antibiotics and advise you to rest, rest being one of the components of recovery. It will tell you whether or not you can go to school or to work. Healing occurs in such cases within 8-10 days.
- Some pneumonias are highly transmissible, while others are almost not, it all depends on the pathogen strain and environmental conditions. Once clearly diagnosed, your doctor will tell you how contagious you are and how long you can transmit the disease.
- If the treatment is well suited, you will see a marked improvement within 48 hours. The temperature should drop sharply and you should regain your strength.
- Except in special cases and in addition to the usual hygiene and prophylaxis measures, it is not necessary to carry out extensive disinfection after touching a sick person. Pathogens only live for a short time outside the human body. Also a simple washing of the objects touched by the patient is sufficient.
Step 2. Know what to do with more advanced pneumonia
In this case, there is a breathing difficulty which requires assistance to maintain the oxygen saturation of the blood. These patients often present with a high fever and severe fatigue. If this is the case, you must go to hospital to receive this respiratory support and intravenous (IV) antibiotic treatment. The nature of the treatment will be the same as on an outpatient basis, the difference being that the antibiotic will be administered intravenously so that it is more effective and faster.
- If the fever subsides within 48 hours, then the drip treatment will be replaced by pills, you will have responded well to the treatment.
- Once the fever subsides, the treatment becomes the classic one for mild pneumonia, the stage of the disease having changed from moderate to mild.
Step 3. Get immediate treatment for severe pneumonia
In all cases, there is a symptom of respiratory distress, which requires emergency hospital treatment. The patient is intubated and put on life support. In the first phase of hospitalization, the patient is admitted to the intensive care unit.
- Of course, treatment with antibiotics by infusion is set up. In the event of septic shock, an even more advanced stage, blood pressure drops, which is why very specific vasoconstrictor fluids are administered, which will narrow the veins and raise blood pressure.
- Depending on the severity of your infection and a positive outcome, you will be transferred to another department, but you will still be on treatment. The length of hospital stay should not be too long, it will vary depending on the severity of your pneumonia and your ability to respond quickly to treatment.
- In some cases, intubation and life support are not necessary. Breathing is provided by a device called a “two-level pressure ventilator” (BIPAP), the pressure changes with each breathing time, inspiration as well as expiration. These BIPAP devices are a non-invasive solution, but not always suitable, they are also used in the treatment of sleep apnea.
Step 4. Take the correct antibiotic
The range of antibiotics to fight pneumonia is wide, so your doctor will give you the one that is best suited to your condition. For classic pneumonia, note that azithromycin or doxycycline are often combined with amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefaclor or cefotaxime. The prescribed dosage will depend on the patient's age, the severity of the case (determined by the cultures) and your possible allergies to a particular antibiotic.
- Your doctor may also prescribe only one antibiotic, but very targeted, for example from the quinolone family, such as levofloxacin or moxifloxacin. Quinolones are never prescribed for children.
- In mild to moderate pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe IV ceftriaxone sodium and oral medications.
- This treatment requires close monitoring by the practitioner for a few days, who will have to modify his prescription if necessary, depending on the progression of symptoms.
Step 5. Treat your nosocomial pneumonia (PAH)
Usually, patients who have acquired hospital acquired pneumonia (HAP) are people who have an underlying health problem. This is why their treatments differ, but not always, from those generally prescribed for people with community acquired pneumonia (CAP). Nosocomial pneumonia has several origins, which is why the practitioner taking care of you will find out which pathogen is affecting you. Depending on the results of the tests, he will prescribe the antibiotics best able to cure you. Here are some of the commonly prescribed treatments:
- for infection with Klebsiella pneumoniae or Escherichia coli, an IV antibiotic, such as ceftazidime or ceftriaxone,
- for infection with Pseudomonas, an IV antibiotic, such as imipenem, piperacillin or cefepime,
- for infection with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an IV antibiotic such as vancomycin,
- for fungal pneumonia, an IV antibiotic, such as amphotericin B or fluconazole,
- for a glycopeptide-resistant enterococcus (ERG), treatment with ceftaroline (antibiotic) IV.
Method 2 of 4: Prevent pneumonia
Step 1. Get your flu shot
Pneumonia can result from the flu that is poorly treated and has therefore escalated. This is why it is recommended that some people get vaccinated against this disease every year, as the strains vary from year to year. By protecting yourself against the flu, you also protect yourself against possible pneumonia.
- The flu shot can be given to everyone except babies under six months of age, with reservations.
- For children under the age of two, there is a specific vaccine, as well as for those between two and five years old. This is a vaccine that is only given to people at risk of getting pneumonia. In the event of an epidemic, children attending nurseries will be vaccinated.
- People who have undergone a splenectomy, those over 65 years of age, those suffering from a pulmonary pathology such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and those with sickle cell anemia are eligible for the vaccine.
Step 2. Wash your hands often
If you want to avoid catching pneumonia, it is best to wash your hands regularly and avoid putting your fingers in your mouth or nose. If you are around someone with pneumonia, stay away and wash your hands thoroughly when you leave. Again, it is also very important, even with clean hands, not to touch your mouth or nose, as germs are transmitted through these higher pathways. There is something surgical about the hand washing operation.
- Wet your hands well under the tap.
- Take a good dose of antibacterial soap and rub your hands thoroughly and for a long time. Rub well between fingers, backs of hands, under fingernails, with a nylon brush.
- Rub your hands well for about 20 seconds. Do not hesitate to count in your head and take a margin of safety.
- Rinse your hands well under a running stream of hot water, the latter better eliminating soap and pathogenic germs.
- Dry your hands with an unused towel.
Step 3. Take care of yourself
It might be the obvious, but the best way to avoid getting pneumonia is to stay fit. This means you need to be in great shape, both physically and mentally. Eat enough and in a balanced way, exercise regularly, and get restful sleep. This way, your immune system is doing its job properly, that is, it greatly protects you from most of the pathogens that are plaguing you at the time.
Some people believe that you can stay in good shape with little sleep. In this, he is wrong, because many studies have shown that sleep, especially deep sleep, has a positive impact on the immune system. This sleep should be sufficient in quality and quantity, that is, 7 to 8 hours of sleep in one go
Step 4. Think about vitamins and trace elements
If you feel tired, you can also take vitamin or trace element supplements under medical supervision. For a cure from pneumonia, consider vitamin C. Take 1000 to 2000 mg per day. This vitamin is very present in citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits …), broccoli, watermelon and many other fruits and vegetables.
If you feel like you are catching a cold, which in an extreme case can turn into pneumonia, consider taking zinc. At the first symptoms of cooling, take 150 mg of zinc three times a day
Step 5. Get vaccinated against pneumonia
It is almost compulsory if you have an immune deficiency. While the flu vaccine is popular and is the subject of an advertising campaign, the pneumonia vaccine is only prescribed in specific cases. Between the ages of 18 and 65, if you don't have a particular health problem, there is no reason to get vaccinated. However, it is recommended for the elderly, people with a weakened immune system, heavy smokers and heavy drinkers and finally those recovering from illness, injury or surgery.
- There are two major vaccines on the market today: the pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate vaccine (13-valent, adsorbed) which protects, as its name suggests, against 13 bacteria and the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine which protects against 23 strains.
- Just because you get the pneumonia vaccine doesn't mean you won't get it, but it will be much less severe than without the vaccine. Of course, you seriously reduce the risk of catching it.
Method 3 of 4: Understanding community acquired pneumonia
Step 1. Know the different types of pneumonia
There are two whose origins and therefore the treatments are different. First, there are community acquired pneumonia (CAP) and hospital acquired pneumonia (PAH), better known under the epithet of "nosocomial", which will be discussed later. PACs, like PAHs, are either viral or bacterial.
As the name suggests, community-acquired pneumonia is contracted through contact with everyone in everyday life. It is particularly formidable in the elderly, young children, diabetics, those who have a deficient immune system (HIV, chemotherapy treatment) or who take corticosteroids. This pneumonia can develop quite mildly and can be treated at home, but it can also lead to hospitalization in intensive care, sometimes to the death of the patient
Step 2. Know the symptoms of pneumonia
These symptoms can be moderate or severe, it all depends on the origin of the pathogen and the stage of the disease. If you notice the symptoms below in yourself or someone else, you urgently need to contact a doctor or go to a hospital. The longer you wait, the more serious the consequences will be. The symptoms are as follows, although not all are those of pneumonia:
- a productive cough
- uninviting mucus, thick, green or yellow, sometimes tinged with blood,
- severe chest pain when taking a deep breath,
- fever always above 38 ° C, more often between 38.5 and 39 ° C,
- uncontrolled chills or tremors
- panting more or less marked depending on the person,
- rapid breathing, seen especially in children,
- a drop in oxygen saturation in the pulmonary circulation.
Step 3. Get diagnosed for CAP
Your doctor will auscultate you and ask you questions to determine the differential. If he thinks it is necessary, he will have you taken a chest x-ray to measure the severity of the condition. On the snapshot, all the affected areas will appear in white, where the lungs should appear in dark. A pleural effusion may be seen near one of the affected areas.
For mild pneumonia, there is no need for a blood test. If the case is more severe, various tests will be done, such as an extensive blood test, a complete metabolic panel, a mucus test and various cultures
Step 4. Get treatment immediately
Even if you are already on treatment for pneumonia, if you notice that your symptoms are getting worse, you should act quickly by getting a doctor or going to the emergency room. Do not delay consulting if:
- you become confused (loss of the notion of time, non-recognition of places or people),
- you have nausea which prevents you from taking your antibiotic treatment
- your blood pressure drops
- your breathing is too fast,
- you are not breathing normally,
- your body temperature exceeds 39 ° C,
- on the contrary, your body temperature is too low.
Method 4 of 4: Understanding nosocomial pneumonia
Step 1. Learn more about hospital acquired pneumonia (PAH)
Also called "nosocomial", it is a pathology that patients develop during hospitalization for a reason other than pneumonia. It is a condition taken very seriously by the medical profession, because the morbidity rates are high. It constitutes a high percentage of readmissions and affects patients who have come to the hospital for a wide variety of reasons, from a simple operation to treatment of an infection to care for a chronic disease. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can lead to sepsis, failure of one or more organs … and sometimes death.
The symptoms of nosocomial pneumonia are no different from the pneumonia seen previously in that the pathogens are the same or almost all of the same
Step 2. Know the risks of contracting nosocomial pneumonia
While CAP-type pneumonia can be contracted anywhere, nosocomial pneumonia, as the name suggests, can only be caught in hospital settings. Some patients are at greater risk than others because of their medical condition, although someone who is otherwise generally healthy can catch it. Some of these risk factors include:
- being in intensive care,
- being on respiratory assistance for more than 48 hours,
- an extended stay in hospital (classic room or in intensive care),
- being hospitalized for a serious opportunistic illness, therefore with an underlying pathology,
- have heart, kidney or liver failure, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or diabetes.
Step 3. Understand the origin of nosocomial pneumonia
Such a pathology can occur after an operation intended to save a collapsed lung or to improve deep breathing hampered by pain. Although the medical staff are very attentive to it, the dissemination of pathogens is done through them, that is to say in the event that they do not practice perfect asepsis (hands, clothes, objects, instruments). In this regard, are more at risk than others, patients on respiratory assistance, those who have been inserted a catheter or who have been intubated.
Step 4. Avoid getting hospital acquired pneumonia
Personally, there is nothing you can do about it, but hospital staff are aware of this problem. To limit this contamination, they obviously apply all the aseptic precautions recommended in such cases. These obviously relate to devices used to facilitate patient breathing, such as artificial respirators or incentive spirometers. They also make sure you get out of the life support as quickly as possible and when possible, they promptly sign your discharge from the hospital.