When you see your physician to find out whether you have pneumonia, they will want you to walk them through your symptoms and their severity. After that, they may order some tests to gather an idea of what the issue is. These tests may include:
– Checking for a wheezing or crackling noise in the lungs using a stethoscope
– Ordering blood tests to measure your white blood cells
– Ordering a chest X-ray for a full image of the lungs
– Using a sputum test which involves the use of a microscope to examine the phlegm
– Getting a pulse oximetry test to calculate the blood oxygen
If your chest X-ray reveals a fluid buildup in the lungs, your physician may proceed to perform a pleural fluid culture. A pleural fluid culture entails inserting a needle into the chest to take out a fluid sample, which is then examined for an infection in a lab.
In cases with severe symptoms, your physician may also need to perform a bronchoscopy which involves the use of the apparatus bronchoscope to check the passages of the lungs.
Pneumonia treatment is dependent on the cause and the severity of the symptoms. In cases of bacterial pneumonia, the standard treatment is the use of antibiotics as well as determining any necessary measures to avoid complications.
In cases of viral pneumonia, physicians typically recommend lots of bed rest and letting the infection run its course as viral pneumonia is known to improve on its own within a few weeks. Your physician will also recommend you drink lots of fluids to soften the mucus in the lungs in addition to getting plenty of bed rest. In some cases, your doctor may think the use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to relieve your symptoms like fever and body pain.
If your pneumonia doesn’t improve without medical interference and worsens, you may require a hospital stay to receive treatment. During your stay, you will likely be supplied with antibiotics or fluids intravenously. If needed, your doctor may also recommend oxygen and breathing therapies.
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