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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Bacterial pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria. It makes your lungs inflamed, which means they cannot work well. Bacterial pneumonia germs are easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or has close contact with others.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your symptoms do not get better, or get worse.
- You are confused and cannot think clearly.
- You have more trouble breathing, or your breathing seems faster than normal.
- Your lips or fingernails turn blue.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever and chills.
- Your cough comes back, does not go away, or you begin to cough up blood.
- You feel very tired or weak, or are sleeping more than usual.
- You cannot eat or have loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting.
- You are urinating less, or not at all.
- Your heart or pulse beats more than 100 times in 1 minute.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to help fight a bacterial infection, decrease swelling or fever, or relive pain. You may also need medicines to help open your airway to help you breathe. Medicines may also be given to help you cough mucus out of your lungs.
- Inhalers and nebulizers help you breathe easier and cough up mucus. Inhalers and nebulizers give your medicine in a mist form so that you can breathe it into your lungs.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Breathing treatments and support:
- Do deep breathing and coughing as directed. Deep breathing helps open the air passages in your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up mucus from your lungs. Sit up regularly or get out of bed to help you breathe more easily and get better faster.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use gel hand cleanser when soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first. Cover your mouth when you cough. Cough into a tissue or your shirtsleeve so you do not spread germs from your hands. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids help thin your mucus, which may make it easier for you to cough it up. While you are sick, do not drink alcohol.
- Get the pneumonia vaccine. The vaccine is given to adults aged 65 years or older to prevent pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia. People aged 19 to 64 years at high risk for pneumococcal disease also should get the pneumococcal vaccine. It may need to be repeated 5 years later. Get an influenza (flu) vaccine every year as soon as it becomes available.
- Do not smoke, and do not allow others to smoke around you. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.