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Bacterial Pneumonia

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.


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.

Isolation safety measures

may be used if you have an infection that can be passed from person to person. Healthcare providers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown. Visitors should wash their hands before leaving to keep from spreading germs.

A pulse oximeter

is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.

An IV

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

Activity

may help you breathe more easily and get better faster. Ask healthcare providers to help you sit up or get out of bed. You may need to breathe deeply and cough. Deep breathing helps to open the air passages in your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up mucus from your lungs. Deep breathing and coughing can help prevent bacterial pneumonia from getting worse.

Monitoring:

  • Neurological signs may also be called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show healthcare providers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Healthcare providers will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
  • Your weight may be checked each day. Healthcare providers compare your weight from day to day or record how much body fluid you have. You can become dehydrated if you lose too much. You can have shortness of breath or swelling in your legs if you retain too much.
  • A CVP line is also called a central line. It is an IV catheter or tube. It is put into a large blood vessel near your collarbone, in your neck, or in your groin. The CVP line may be used to give medicines or IV fluids. It may also be hooked up to a monitor to take pressure readings. This information helps healthcare providers check your heart.

Medicine:

  • Antibiotics help fight a bacterial infection.
  • Bronchodilators help open the air passages in your lungs, and help you breathe more easily.
  • Expectorants help thin your sputum (mucus from the lungs). When sputum is thin, it may be easier for you to cough it up and spit it out. This may make your breathing easier, and may help you get better faster.
  • Fever medicine may be given.
  • Pain medicine may be given.
  • Immunomodulatory medicine may help your immune system work better. It may also weaken your immune system to prevent it from attacking your own body. Your healthcare provider may give you this medicine to prevent or treat sepsis (widespread infection in the body).
  • Steroids help reduce swelling.
  • Vasopressors may be given if your blood pressure has dropped too low. This medicine may be needed to increase it to a normal range.

Tests:

  • X-ray or CT pictures may be taken of your lungs. This test shows healthcare providers how well your lungs are working and other problems, such as fluid around your lungs. A chest x-ray can also show how well your treatment is working.
  • Blood and urine tests can help healthcare providers learn more about your bacterial pneumonia.
  • A sputum sample may be tested for the bacteria causing your pneumonia.
  • Bronchoscopy 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 thoracentesis is a treatment to take fluid or air out of your chest. You are given numbing medicine before a needle is put between two of your ribs. The needle is then put through the chest wall. The air or fluid is sucked out through the needle. You may breathe easier when the fluid or air is removed.

Treatment:

  • Breathing treatments 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.
  • A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.

RISKS:

Even with treatment, bacterial pneumonia may not go away, and your symptoms may get worse. You may have breathing problems, or the infection can spread to other areas of your body. Pus or extra fluid may collect in the space around your lungs, or your lungs may get damaged. You may not be able to get enough oxygen if your lungs are inflamed or damaged. Low oxygen can cause damage to other body organs, such as your kidneys, heart, and brain.

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.

© 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.

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