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Bacterial Pneumonia, Ambulatory Care

Bacterial pneumonia

is a lung infection caused by bacteria. It makes your lungs inflamed, which causes them to not work properly. Bacterial pneumonia germs are easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or has close contact with others.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Dry cough or coughing up mucus, which may be streaked with blood
  • Fever, chills, or severe shaking
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing (high-pitched noise when you breathe out), or chest pain
  • Feeling tired easily
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Headache, muscle pain, or abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Trouble thinking clearly

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Confusion and cannot think clearly
  • Trouble breathing or your breathing seems faster than normal
  • Lips or fingernails turn gray or blue

Treatment for bacterial pneumonia

may include medicines to treat bacterial infection. You may also be given medicines to help you breathe more easily, or to decrease fever or pain. You may need breathing treatments to help open your airways. You may also get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider about these and other treatments you may need.

Prevent and manage bacterial pneumonia:

  • Avoid the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use gel hand cleanser when there is no soap and water 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 vaccinated. The pneumococcal 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. Smoking increases your risk of lung infections and bacterial pneumonia. Smoking also makes it harder for you to get better after a lung infection. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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. 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.

© 2016 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.

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