Bacterial Pneumonia

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, occurring most often in winter and spring, when upper respiratory tract infections are most common. In addition to S. pneu-moniae, other bacteria that can cause pneumonia include Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilius influenzae, Legionella pneumophilia, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Symptoms Classic bacterial pneumonia usually begins with a sudden onset of shaking chills, a rapid rising fever (up to 105°F), and stabbing chest pain as the lungs become inflamed, made worse by coughing. The patient is severely ill and breathes with grunting and flared nostrils, leaning forward in an effort to breathe without coughing. During the most serious phase of pneumonia, the body loses fluids, which must be replaced in order to prevent shock; pus in the lungs can cause severe respiratory distress.

Diagnosis History, physical exam, chest X ray, blood culture, and sputum exam are used to diagnose this disease.

Treatment Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics such as penicillin G. Other effective drugs include erythromycin, clindamycin, cephalosporin, and Bactrim. Bed rest is required until the infection clears, and oxygen may be given.

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