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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung tissue. It is usually caused by an infection with bacteria or viruses. The symptoms of pneumonia include a cough that produces lots of mucus; fever; tiredness, and difficulty breathing.
What causes pneumonia?
Pneumonia is usually caused by an infection with bacteria or viruses that have been inhaled into the lungs. Your body's immune system then sends white blood cells to attack the germs that are causing the infection. This causes the air sacs in the lung to become …
Can pneumonia be fatal?
Pneumonia can sometimes be fatal. People who are elderly, have complicated medical problems, have a weak immune system or have a very aggressive organism that is causing their pneumonia are at risk of dying from pneumonia. Pneumonia that is left untreated can become …
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
A doctor will diagnose pneumonia on the basis of a physical exam and test results. During a physical examination a doctor may use a stethoscope to listen for crackles or abnormal sounds caused by breathing. An X-ray can be used to confirm pneumonia and work out …
How is pneumonia treated?
Pneumonia is usually treated with a combination of medication and self-care. For mild cases, self-care treatments such as getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids are recommended. Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics; antifungal …
How long does it take to recover from pneumonia?
The length of time it takes to recover from pneumonia depends on what has caused it and the strength of the immune system of the person affected. Most cases will start to improve within a week, but it will often take a few weeks for all of …
Is pneumonia contagious?
Pneumonia can be contagious. Some of the viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia are more contagious than others. People with a weak immune system are more likely to catch pneumonia from someone who already has it. But in most cases, if the germs that cause …
How can I tell the difference between a cough and pneumonia?
A physical examination by a doctor will help determine the difference between pneumonia and a cough. A chest X-ray and laboratory tests of blood or sputum samples can also help to diagnose pneumonia.
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Votes: 1232 (Click smiley face below left to rate)