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Community-acquired Pneumonia

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a lung infection that you get outside of a hospital or nursing home setting. When you have CAP, your lungs become inflamed and cannot work well. CAP may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Your symptoms may get worse. Fluid or infection may get trapped in the lining around your lung. Community-acquired pneumonia may become life threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Activity:

Sit up regularly, or get out of bed to help you breathe easier, and get better faster. Your healthcare provider may want you to do deep breathing and coughing. Deep breathing helps to open the air passages in your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up mucus from your lungs.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Antifungals help treat or prevent a fungal infection.

  • Antivirals help treat or prevent a viral infection.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests may be done to check for infection. You may need to have these tests done more than once.

  • A chest x-ray may help show signs of infection, and how well your lungs are working. A chest x-ray may also show other problems, such as fluid around your lungs. You may need more than one chest x-ray.

  • Sputum sample: Sputum (mucus from your lungs) is collected in a cup when you cough. The sample is sent to a lab to be tested for the germ that is causing your illness. It can also help your caregiver choose the best medicine to treat the infection.

  • Blood gases: This is also called an arterial blood gas, or ABG. Blood is taken from an artery (blood vessel) in your wrist, arm, or groin. Your blood is tested for the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in it. The results can tell caregivers how well your lungs are working.

  • Bronchoscopy: This is a procedure to look inside your airway and learn the cause of your airway or lung condition. A bronchoscope (thin tube with a light) is inserted into your mouth and moved down your throat to your airway. You may be given medicine to numb your throat and help you relax during the procedure. Tissue and fluid may be collected from your airway or lungs to be tested.

  • A CT scan , or CAT scan, may show signs of infection. You may be given contrast liquid before the scan. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

Treatments:

  • Breathing treatments: You may need breathing treatments to help open your airways so you can breathe easier. A machine is used to change liquid medicine into a mist. You will breathe the mist into your lungs through tubing and a mouthpiece. Inhaled mist medicines act quickly on your airways and lungs to relieve your symptoms.

  • 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.

Smoking:

It is never too late to quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of lung infections and CAP. Smoking also makes it harder for you to get better after a lung infection. Ask healthcare providers for help and more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

Learn more about Community-acquired Pneumonia (Inpatient Care)

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