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Lung Abscess


A lung abscess is a pus-filled area in your lung tissue that is caused by a bacterial infection. A lung abscess can form after you accidentally inhale food or liquid into your lungs. A mouth infection, a weak immune system, or heart problems may increase your risk for a lung abscess. A severe lung abscess may spread and become life-threatening.



  • Medicines will be used to help fight a bacterial infection in 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or respiratory therapist as directed:

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a specialist for chest physiotherapy. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Go to chest physiotherapy as directed:

Chest physiotherapy is treatment to clear fluid from your lung and increase blood flow. A healthcare provider will tap on your chest and back to help loosen fluid in your lungs. He will place you in different positions to exercise your lung and drain the fluid. This will help you cough out excess fluid from your lung so it can heal.

Limit activity as directed:

Ask your healthcare provider when it is okay to return to your normal activities.

Ask if you need any vaccinations:

A flu or pneumonia shot may help reduce your risk for more lung infections.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or night sweats.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have sudden shortness of breath.
  • You have sudden sharp chest pain, especially when you breathe or cough.
  • You cough up blood.

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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.