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Viral Pneumonia, Ambulatory Care

Viral pneumonia

is a lung infection caused by a virus. Many viruses can cause viral pneumonia, such as influenza. You can get a virus by breathing it in or by touching something that has the virus on it. You can also develop viral pneumonia if a virus in your body travels to your lungs.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Cough, which may or may not bring up mucus
  • Fever above 100.4°F (38°C) or chills
  • Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, or wheezing
  • Muscle pain and tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Confused and not able to think clearly
  • Trouble breathing or faster breathing than normal
  • Chest pain

Treatment for viral pneumonia

may include medicines to treat the viral infection. Steroid medicine may help to open your air passages so you can breathe easier. Do not stop taking this medicine without direction from your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider if you need other medicines to help decrease pain and fever. He can tell you which medicines are safe and how much to take.

Care for viral pneumonia:

  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around you. Smoking increases your risk of lung infections and pneumonia. Smoking also makes it harder for you to get better after you have a lung infection. Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to quit smoking. He may prescribe nicotine replacement medicine or tell you how to find a program to help you quit.
  • Get plenty of rest. Rest often while you recover. Slowly start to do more each day.

Prevent viral pneumonia:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Carry germ-killing hand 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. Clean doorknobs, countertops, cell phones, and other surfaces that are touched often.
  • 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.
  • Get the influenza vaccine each year to prevent the flu. If you have immunization records, show them to your healthcare provider. You may need other vaccines or booster shots to prevent pneumonia and other infections.

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.

© 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.

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