During this time of year, with the flu running rampant, pneumonia is very commonly seen, especially after someone has had the flu. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It is caused by a bacteria or virus caused by irritants entering the lungs. The symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the risk factors and the type of pneumonia.
Common symptoms are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Anyone can get pneumonia, but it is more likely to develop pneumonia if you have a weak immune system, are a baby or young child, are a smoker, or are someone over 65 years of age. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection.
Pneumonia is diagnosed based on a chest x-ray. For bacterial pneumonia, your doctor will probably prescribe some antibiotics, which will improve the symptoms in a few days, although the cough may last several weeks. Severe cases of pneumonia may require treatment in the hospital and antibiotics through an IV. Complications of pneumonia include pleural effusion and bacteria of the blood stream.
To prevent pneumonia, get a flu shot each year. Getting the flu shot will decrease your risk of contracting pneumonia. Even though we are in the heart of the flu season, it is NOT too late to get vaccinated.
Call our office today, 757-488-3333, to schedule your flu shot.