Pneumonia – Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Pneumonia - Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and TreatmentPneumonia is a breathing (respiratory) condition in which there is an infection of the lung. Pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi. Pneumonia is not a single disease. It can have more than 30 different causes. Understanding the cause of pneumonia is important because pneumonia treatment depends on its cause.

Types of Pneumonia

There are many different kinds of pneumonia, ranging from mild to severe. There are 4 basic types:

  1. Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), the most common type of pneumonia, is caused by bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that are acquired outside of the hospital or other health care settings.
  2. Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) occurs at least 48 hours after someone has been admitted to the hospital. It can be caused by bacteria and other organisms that are usually different from CAP. HAP is usually more serious than CAP because the bacteria and organisms can be harder to treat, and because people who get HAP are already sick.
  3. Aspiration pneumonia occurs when liquids or other irritants are inhaled into the lungs. The most common type of aspiration pneumonia is caused by inhaling stomach contents after vomiting. People with medical problems (e.g., stroke, ALS) that affect swallowing are at an increased risk of this type of pneumonia.
  4. Opportunistic pneumonia occurs in people with weakened immune system (e.g., people with AIDS, cancer, organ transplant). Organisms that are not usually harmful to people with healthy immune systems cause these types of infections.

Causes of Pneumonia

There are five main causes of pneumonia:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Mycoplasmas
  • Other infectious agents, such as fungi – including pneumocystis
  • Various chemicals

Risk factors that increase your chances of getting pneumonia include:

  • Chronic lung disease (COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Dementia, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, or other brain disorders
  • Immune system problem (during cancer treatment or due to HIV/AIDS or organ transplant)
  • Other serious illnesses, such as heart disease, liver cirrhosis, or diabetes mellitus
  • Recent surgery or trauma
  • Surgery to treat cancer of the mouth, throat, or neck

Symptoms of Pneumonia

The most common symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Cough (with some pneumonias you may cough up greenish or yellow mucus, or even bloody mucus)
  • Fever, which may be mild or high
  • Shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath, which may only occur when you climb stairs

Additional symptoms include:

  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating and clammy skin
  • Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
  • Confusion, especially in older people

Diagnosis of Pneumonia

If pneumonia is suspected it is important to seek medical attention promptly so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment given.

The doctor will take a medical history and will conduct a physical examination. During the examination the doctor will listen to the chest with a stethoscope. Coarse breathing, crackling sounds, wheezing and reduced breath sounds in a particular part of the lungs can indicate pneumonia.

In order to confirm the diagnosis a chest x-ray is usually taken. The x-ray will show the area of the lung affected by the pneumonia.

Blood tests may also be taken and a sample of the sputum may be sent to the laboratory for testing.

Treatment of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics, even if viral pneumonia is suspected as there may be a degree of bacterial infection as well. The type of antibiotic used and the way it is given will be determined by the severity and cause of the pneumonia.

If able to be treated at home, treatment usually includes:

  • Antibiotics – given by mouth as tablets or liquid
  • Pain relieving medications
  • Paracetamol to reduce fever
  • Rest.

If treatment in hospital is required, treatment usually includes:

  • Antibiotics given intravenously (via a drip into a vein)
  • Oxygen therapy – to ensure the body gets the oxygen it needs
  • Intravenous fluids – to correct dehydration or if the person is too unwell to eat or drink
  • Physiotherapy – to help clear the sputum from the lungs.


Reference :

Risk for Infection – Nanda NIC NOC

Risk for Infection – Nanda NIC NOC

NANDA Definition: At increased risk for being invaded by pathogenic organisms

Risk Factors :

  • Invasive procedures
  • Insufficient knowledge regarding avoidance of exposure to pathogens
  • Trauma
  • Tissue destruction and increased environmental exposure
  • Rupture of amniotic membranes
  • Pharmaceutical agents (e.g., immunosuppressants)
  • Malnutrition
  • Increased environmental exposure to pathogens
  • Immunosuppression
  • Inadequate acquired immunity
  • Inadequate secondary defenses (e.g., decreased hemoglobin, leukopenia, suppressed inflammatory response)
  • Inadequate primary defenses (e.g., broken skin, traumatized tissue, decrease in ciliary action, stasis of body fluids, change in pH secretions, altered peristalsis)
  • Chronic disease

NOC Labels:

  • Immune Status
  • Knowledge: Infection control
  • Risk control

Expected outcomes:

  • Remains free from symptoms of infection
  • States symptoms of infection of which to be aware
  • Demonstrates appropriate care of infection-prone site
  • Maintains white blood cell count and differential within normal limits
  • Demonstrates appropriate hygienic measures such as hand washing, oral care, and perineal care


Infection Control

  • Clean up the environment after use of other patients
  • Maintain isolation techniques
  • Limit visitors when necessary
  • Instruct visitors to wash their hands when visiting and after visiting
  • Use an anti-microbial soap for washing hands
  • Wash hands before and after every nursing action
  • Use clothes, gloves as personal protective equipment
  • Maintain aseptic environment during the installation of equipment
  • Change the location of the peripheral IV and central line and dressing in accordance with the general
  • Use intermittent catheters to reduce bladder infections
  • Increase intake of nutrients
  • Provide antibiotic therapy if necessary.

Infection Protection

  • Monitor signs and symptoms of systemic and local infections
  • Monitor granulocyte count, WBC
  • Monitor susceptibility to infection
  • Limit visitors
  • Filter visitors to infectious diseases
  • Keep aspesis technique in patients at risk
  • Maintain isolation techniques
  • Give the skin of the treatment area epidema
  • Inspection of skin and mucous membranes of the redness, heat, drainage
  • Inspection condition of wound / surgical incision
  • Push enter adequate nutrition
  • Encourage fluid intake
  • Advise for a break
  • Instruct patient to take antibiotics as prescribed
  • Teach the patient and family the signs and symptoms of infection
  • Teach how to avoid infection
  • Report suspicion of infection
  • Report positive cultures