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Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (Nosocomial Pneumonia)

Condition Basics

What puts you at risk?

You can get hospital-acquired pneumonia when you are in a hospital. You are more likely to get it if you:

  • Have another serious condition, especially another lung disease, such as COPD.
  • Aren't eating enough healthy foods and are malnourished.
  • Have a weak immune system.
  • Have been in the hospital for a long time.
  • Are taking many antibiotics.
  • Are 55 or older.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include a cough that may produce mucus, a fever, and shortness of breath. You may feel very tired. Symptoms can start 2 days or more after you go into the hospital. They may also start shortly after being sent home.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. They will do a physical exam and listen to your lungs.

If your doctor thinks that you have this condition, a chest X-ray will be ordered. If needed, more imaging tests may be done. Your doctor may also check a sample of your mucus and may order blood tests.

How is it treated?

Most types of hospital-acquired pneumonia are treated with an antibiotic that kills many types of bacteria. This may happen before your doctor knows which type of bacteria caused your infection. Your antibiotic may be changed after tests show which bacteria you have. You may also be given fluids through a vein (IV) and oxygen.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
R. Steven Tharratt MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine

 

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