Common Causes Of Pneumonia

As an emergency room nurse, pneumonia is a common diagnosis seen on an ordinary basis. The Mayo Clinic defines pneumonia as "infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs" (www.mayoclinic.org). Pneumonia can occur at any age. Frequent causes of pneumonia are bacteria, fungi, and a virus. Aspirating food and liquids can also cause pneumonia. This type of pneumonia is common in the elderly population due to dysphasia. The American Lung Association (2016) states that pneumonia is not caused by one single disease, and it could have more than 30 different causes. Common symptoms of pneumonia are: cough, fever, chills, pleuritic chest pain, and shortness of breath. Annual influenza vaccine, hand washing, and pneumococcal vaccine for …show more content…
Furthermore, pneumonia can be potentially deadly! Respiratory failure is considered a medical emergency. It occurs when "the lungs are unable to adequately exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide because of insufficient ventilation" (DiGiulio & Keogh, 2014, p.118). An arterial blood gas can confirm the diagnosis. It will show a high carbon dioxide level and a low oxygen level. Without prior history of lung disease, the PaCO2 will be less than 60 and the PaCO2 will be greater than 50 with respiratory failure. Intubation with mechanical ventilation may be required if respiratory failure does not resolve quickly. Another complication of pneumonia is sepsis. "Sepsis is the body 's overwhelming and life threatening response to an infection which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death" (www.cdc.gov). Sepsis can often be difficult to diagnose in the early stages due to having the same symptoms of other conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website lists a mnemonic to help remember common signs and symptoms of sepsis. S- Shivering, fever, or cold, E- extreme pain, P- pale, S- sleepy, I- "I feel like I might die", and S- short of breath. Another possible complication of pneumonia is ARDS. It develops from direct or indirect trauma to the lungs. An example of a direct injury would be pneumonia, and burns …show more content…
Some examples that might require a hospital stay would be the elderly and young children, taking antibiotics at home with no improvement, and having other co-morbidities such as heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. "The goals of treatment are to cure infection and prevent complications" (www.lung.org). For low risk individuals with bacterial pneumonia, it can be treated with oral antibiotics. The entire course of antibiotics must be completed to help eradicate the infection. In addition to the antibiotics, the doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator to improve airflow and help keep the airway open. Albuterol is a bronchodilator that is frequently prescribed that can be given via a nebulizer machine or metered dose inhaler. Antipyretics, such as Tylenol and Motri,n are given to provide comfort and reduce fever greater than 100.4 F. Encourage fluid intake unless contraindicated to help thin and loosen secretions. If oxygen saturation is less than 92%, supplemental oxygen is used during the hospital stay. If the individual cannot maintain oxygen saturations with a nasal cannula, an oxygen mask, venti mask, or non-rebreather . If respiratory failure or ARDS develop, it will more than likely require a c-pap or ventilator to assist with breathing. Antibiotics and fluids are given intravenously.

Assessment Questions
1. Clients who

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