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Posts Tagged ‘Pneumonia’

World Pneumonia Day, November 12, 2021. By Our Student Pharmacist, Khoi Dang.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which can cause inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, 1.5 million people were diagnosed with pneumonia in an emergency department during 2018. Unfortunately, more than 40,000 people died from the disease that year in the United States. Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the United States are adults.

Pneumonia could be caused by a bacteria or a virus.

In the US, the most common causes for viral pneumonia are influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), or, more recently, SARS-Cov-2.

For bacteria, the most common cause of community acquired pneumonia is Streptococcus Pneumoniae.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Symptoms of pneumonia are very similar to bronchitis. The picture below from Medical News Today did a great job of differentiating the two disease:

bronchitis vs pneumonia


  • Physical exam:
    • The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs. Patients with pneumonia usually have crackling, rumbling sounds when they inhale.
  • Diagnosis tests:
    • Blood Test: to confirm the infection as well as the source.
    • Chest X Ray: to look at where the disease is and how severe it is.
    • Pulse oximetry: to check your oxygen saturation. Pneumonia could prevent you from breathing effectively, so having the oxygen saturation will give the doctor an idea of how severe your case is.
    • Sputum Culture: the doctor will take a sample of your sputum after a deep cough. This is to look for the source of infection.


  • Antibiotics: remember to finish all the antibiotics to prevent resistance.
    • NOTE: if the doctor suspects or confirms that the source of the infection is viral, antibiotics will not help and should not be prescribed.
  • Tylenol, NSAIDS (ibuprofen or naproxen), aspirin will help with any fever or pain.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to loosen the mucus, preferably warm liquids.
  • Do not take any cough suppressing medications, since coughing is a way the body expels harmful bacteria. If the cough prevents you from resting, Delsym will help with the symptoms.
  • Get plenty of rest. The best way to fight off infection is to give your body time to recuperate and regain the lost energy to fight back against the disease.


  • Wash your hands:
    • The most common infection route is from touching dirty hands to nose and mouth. Washing hands is the most effective way to prevent infections which could lead to pneumonia
  • Get vaccinated: receiving vaccines could reduce the risk of infections leading to pneumonia. These vaccines include:
    • Flu Vaccine: as discussed above, influenza is one of the causes of viral pneumonia.
    • Pneumococcal vaccine: the vaccine can prevent infections from 23 pneumococcal bacteria chains, the most common bacteria for bacterial infections. There are two types of pneumonia vaccine. Please talk to one of our friendly pharmacists for their recommendation.
    • Tdap: this vaccine could prevent pertussis or whooping cough. Tdap is recommended every 10 years.
  • Don’t smoke:
    • Smoking will damage your lungs and weaken your immune system; as a result, you are more likely to catch an infection that leads to pneumonia. If you have any questions about how to stop smoking, whether you are ready to quit smoking or not, please talk to our friendly pharmacists.