Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, also known as PCP, is a lung infection caused by fungi (germs). PCP is most often seen in people with a weak immune system. PCP is an opportunistic infection. This means that when your immune system is not working well, PCP is more likely to develop.
- Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better.
- Steroids: This medicine is given to help reduce inflammation in your lungs. It may be given if you do not have enough oxygen in your blood. If you use this medicine, you may be less likely to need a machine to help you breathe.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary 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.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to follow up with your primary healthcare provider to get vaccinations. An influenza vaccine is recommended yearly, and a pneumococcal vaccine every 5 years. Ask your primary healthcare provider for more information on these vaccines. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your follow-up visits.
Avoid the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Carry germ-killing gel with you. You can use the gel to clean your hands when there is no soap and water available.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first.
- Always cover your mouth when you cough. Cough into a tissue or your shirtsleeve so you do not spread germs from your hands.
- Try to avoid people who have a cold or the flu. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible.
You may need extra oxygen to help you breathe easier. It may be given through a plastic mask over your mouth and nose, or it may be given through nasal prongs. These are short, thin tubes that rest just inside your nose. Tell your primary healthcare provider if your nose gets dry or if you get redness or sores on your skin. Never smoke or let anyone else smoke in the same room while your oxygen is on. Doing so may cause a fire.
Do not smoke:
If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- Your skin is itchy, or you have a rash.
- You have chills, or feel weak or achy.
- You have new signs or symptoms.
- You have trouble sleeping.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You cough up blood.
- You have severe pain in your chest or trouble breathing.
- Your lips or fingernails turn blue or white.
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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.