This condition occurs when there is an infection that then arises into inflammation of the alveoli which is basically the air sacs in the lungs. This infection can be viral, fungal, bacterial or even parasitic. The air sacs can be filled with either fluid or pus and cause many symptoms such as the ones the patient presented with. The symptoms the patient reported were productive cough with green sputum, shaking chills, fever, and sweating. These are the common symptoms that are shown with those who are diagnosed with pneumonia. The objective findings such as lung sounds, heart rate and blood work all correlate with the possible diagnosis.
Next Diagnostic Step
Further diagnostic testing will help us determine the diagnosis such as imaging, blood draw and lung function exams. According to most clinical guidelines globally, the supposed gold standard tool for diagnosing pneumonia is a chest X-ray (CXR) which can distinguish pneumonia from other respiratory tract infections Other diagnostic tests such as laboratory tests (white blood cell count (WBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin), blood culture, serology, and computed tomography scan (CT scan) have been reported with different rates of accuracy However, chest radiography and other diagnostic procedures, such as sputum and blood cultures, may not be accessible or not routinely measured in primary care setting for economic and logistic reasons. (Htun, Sun, Chua, 2019). Vitals are always a great clue to the severity of pneumonia. A head-to-toe examination including break sounds and respiratory rate can offer us information such as the severity of pneumonia and what the treatment plan will be afterwards.
Next Step in Therapy
The treatment choice for pneumonia is used to antibiotics. Some of the common antibiotics that can be used to treat pneumonia is azithromycin or erythromycin. Since there are many forms of pneumonia such as bacteria, fungal, etc. It is best to know first which pneumonia we are treating so we know we are using the correct antibiotic. Treatment plan with antibiotics always reflects the severity of the infection and if there is an increasing resistance of microorganisms. If this is a viral pneumonia, then antibiotics will not respond. In this case the use of antiviral medication will help.
Cough medication and suppressants will also be something that will be given to this patient. In order to control the fever, antipyretics will be given and for pain analgesics will be prescribed. Depending on the severity, possible oxygen therapy will be administered if this patient shows signs of hypoxia. Common pain medication that can be used in this situation can be aspirin, ibuprofen, and/or acetaminophen.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Hydration will help with thinning and mobilizing the secretions. Also coughing out the sputum is recommended as this helps loosen and move fluid from the lungs. In most situation rest is recommended and will help with the outcome of the diagnosis. Keeping up with all mediation and therapy will overall help with the speed or recovery.
Complications arise more so when the patient is older in age. Some of the complications that can occur are pleural effusion, lung abscess, respiratory failure etc. These are very serious complications that need to be caught ahead of time. Another serious complication that can be seen with pneumonia is infection that can occur in the empyema, inflammation in the pericarditis and even atelectasis and endobronchial obstruction. (CDC, 2020). Lung abscess usually occurs because of a localized lung infection by particularly virulent, pyogenic bacteria. (Mani, 2018). It is very important to treat pneumonia in a timely manner so that these severe complications do not arise.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, September 1). Symptoms and complications
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Htun, T. P., Sun, Y., Chua, H. L., & Pang, J. (2019, May 20). Clinical features for diagnosis of pneumonia among adults in primary care setting: A systematic and meta-review. Scientific reports. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527561/
Mani, C. S. (2018). Acute pneumonia and its complications. Principles and Practice of Pediatric
Infectious Diseases. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC71734