Pneumonia is a lung disease that affects the alveoli or air sacs in the lungs. Numerous germs can cause an individual to develop pneumonia, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses that come in contact with the lungs. Even small pieces of aspirated food can cause someone to develop pneumonia. The air sacs or alveoli in a patient with pneumonia tend to fill up with purulent material or pus. Symptoms include a cough that produces phlegm or pus, difficulty breathing, chills, chest pain when breathing and coughing, confusion, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and fever.
A patient's pneumonia is diagnosed with the use of blood tests, pulse oximetry, sputum test, chest x-ray, CT scan, and pleural fluid culture. An individual affected by pneumonia may be treated with antibiotics if their infection has been caused by bacteria. Medications used to dislodge sputum and suppress a patient's cough may be part of their pneumonia treatment. Pain relievers and fever-reducing medications are used to ease pain and discomfort associated with a fever and pneumonia.