This leaflet gives information about pneumonia and tells you how it is

By Jeff Elliott,2014-09-03 14:55
6 views 0
This leaflet gives information about pneumonia and tells you how it isThis

    NHS Scotland Pneumonia (CAP) Patient Information Leaflet


    Patient Information

    This leaflet tells you about pneumonia and how it is treated.

What is pneumonia?

    Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by a germ. Some nurses or doctors may call it a “chest infection” or “lower

    respiratory tract infection” instead of “pneumonia”.

Where does the infection come from?

    Many different germs cause pneumonia. Some are found in the air, like the „flu‟ virus. Other germs, such as bacteria, live in the throat where they usually do no harm. These germs sometimes get into the lungs and cause pneumonia. This is more likely if you are „run-down‟, smoke, have a long-term

    illness and/or as you get older. It is unlikely that your doctor will be able to tell you which germ is causing your pneumonia or how you got it.

What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms are usually similar to severe flu. Some people have

    all these symptoms whilst others may only experience one or two. The main symptoms are:

; High temperature with or without shivering: Our bodies

    increase in temperature to try to kill off germs and


    ; Coughing: Sometimes a dry cough where nothing is

    coughed up, or a productive cough, where

    mucus/phlegm is coughed up.

    ; Mucus/phlegm: This is the thick liquid produced by your

    lungs when fighting an infection. Our lungs often make

    more when fighting an infection. It may become a yellow

    or brown colour when there is an infection.

    ; Trouble breathing: This can be caused by inflammation or

    fluid in your lungs. Your lungs find it more difficult to take in

    oxygen so you have to take more breaths.

    February 2007 Release 1.2

    NHS Scotland Pneumonia (CAP) Patient Information Leaflet ; Chest pain: This can be caused from coughing, but can

    also be caused by inflammation between the two layers of

    tissue that cover our lungs. These layers are called pleura

    and the pain is called pleurisy.

    ; Blue lips and nails: This sometimes happens when your body

    does not get enough oxygen.

    ; Confusion, including hallucinations and very vivid dreams:

    Caused by many things, including having a high

    temperature and dehydration.

    Who gets pneumonia?

    Pneumonia is common and can affect anyone, even the

    young and healthy.

    How is pneumonia diagnosed?

    In hospital, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, examine your chest and listen to it with a stethoscope. He or she will measure the number of breaths you take in a minute (your respiratory rate) and your blood pressure. You will normally need a chest x-ray and your doctor will order blood tests.

    Your doctor works out how severe the pneumonia is on a scale of 0 to 5 from these investigations. This is called the CURB65 score. It gets its name from the things that the doctor takes into consideration.

    A score of 0 or 1 means the pneumonia is mild. When the score is 3 or more, the pneumonia is severe.

    Your doctor may use a slightly different score called CRB65. This is used when Urea results are not available.

How serious is pneumonia?

    Pneumonia is not life threatening when it is mild, but it can be when it is severe and when someone has another illness as well.

What about treatment and recovery?

    Your doctor will decide on treatment based on the severity of pneumonia and any other health problems. Mild pneumonia February 2007 Release 1.2

    NHS Scotland Pneumonia (CAP) Patient Information Leaflet with no other problems can be treated at home. More severe pneumonia needs to be treated in hospital.

    Most people make a full recovery. You should usually begin to feel better after 2-3 days, but you may feel tired and lack energy for several weeks.

Hospital Treatment:

    ; If you are in hospital, you may be getting antibiotics and

    fluids through a „drip‟.

    ; People treated in hospital may also need oxygen. ; If you have received antibiotics through a „drip‟, your

    doctor will switch you over to antibiotic tablets or capsules

    when you begin to get better.

    ; Once back home, you may be given a follow-up

    appointment. Your can also see your GP if you need to

    while recovering.

    ; Follow the advice in the Treatment At Home section below.

Treatment at Home:

    If you were not admitted to hospital or after you have been discharged from hospital:

    ; Taking antibiotics is the most important part of treatment.

    Even if you are feeling better, please finish the course.

    ; Drinking lots of fluids (8 glasses a day) helps loosen

    secretions and mucus/phlegm in your lungs and keep you

    hydrated. Water or pure fruit juice is good for hydration.

    Avoid alcohol while unwell. Do not drink too much tea or

    coffee unless it is decaffeinated. Caffeine can increase


    ; Getting rest is important, but once you are improving you

    can gradually increase activity.

    ; Painkillers such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can be taken

    to reduce fever and relieve chest pains. Coughing may last

    for a few weeks as the infection clears and your lungs

    recover. Your cough should get better, but if it gets worse,

    talk to your GP.

    What about follow-up arrangements?

    Some people, especially if you are over 50-years old or smoke,

    may need a follow-up appointment with a chest x-ray in about February 2007 Release 1.2

    NHS Scotland Pneumonia (CAP) Patient Information Leaflet six-weeks. This is to make sure that the lungs have fully recovered from the infection and that there are no other problems with them. However, most people who are recovering well will not need another x-ray.

    ; If you are in hospital, your nurse or hospital doctor will

    discuss follow-up plans with you.

    ; If you were not admitted to hospital, your GP will discuss

    follow-up plans with you.

    ; If you don’t get better or symptoms get worse (severe

    cough, trouble breathing or fever), or if the antibiotics

    make you sick, please contact your GP.

Can pneumonia be avoided?

    Although anyone can get pneumonia, keeping in good health can help to avoid it.

    ; If you smoke, giving-up will reduce your risk of getting

    pneumonia again. If you need help with this, please

    contact your GP.

    ; Cough and sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of tissue in plastic

    bag and wash your hands afterwards.

    ; Keep up a healthy lifestyle. A good diet and exercise can

    help keep your immune system strong.

    ; Flu jab. Ask your doctor about getting a flu jab, which

    gives good protection against flu.

    This booklet has been developed by the Scottish National Audit Project Community Acquired Pneumonia (SNAP-CAP) and NHS Tayside, based upon the information from and

    February 2007 Release 1.2

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email