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Pneumonitis is inflammation of your lungs. The inflammation can make it hard to breathe and prevent you from getting enough oxygen. Anything that irritates your lung tissues can lead to pneumonitis. The longer you are exposed, the more damage your lungs will develop. Pneumonitis can last a short time or become chronic.

The Lungs


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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.

Rest as directed:

Keep the head of your bed raised to help you breathe easier. You can also raise your head and shoulders up on pillows or rest in a reclining chair. If you feel short of breath, let healthcare providers know right away.


  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Bronchodilators open your airways and make it easier to breathe.
  • Steroids reduce inflammation in your airways.


  • An oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.


  • Blood tests will show if you have an infection, and how well your lungs are working.
  • X-ray or CT pictures may show if you have fluid or an infection in your lungs.
  • Lung function tests are done to show healthcare providers how well your lungs are working. You will use a device called a spirometer to measure the amount of air you inhale and exhale.
  • Bronchoscopy is a procedure used to see your airway. Your healthcare provider will guide a scope (flexible tube) down your throat and into your airway.
  • A sample of lung tissue may be sent to a lab for tests. The sample may be taken during a bronchoscopy, through surgery, or frozen and removed through a procedure called cryobiopsy.


  • Oxygen may be given if the level of oxygen in your blood gets too low.
  • Deep breathing and coughing will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth, take a slow, deep breath. Then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation (NPPV) uses a machine to help fill your lungs with air. You will breathe through a mask or a mouthpiece.
  • 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.


You may have permanent damage to your lungs. Scar tissue may develop in the lining of your lung's air sacs and make them stiff. This is a serious condition called pulmonary fibrosis. You have a higher risk of long-term problems if you work around dust, fumes, smoke, or chemicals. Your risk for long-term problems is also increased if you smoke. Pneumonitis may lead to life-threatening heart failure or respiratory failure.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Learn more about Pneumonitis (Inpatient Care)

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