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What is it?
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs.
Symptoms: Fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough that produces yellow-green phlegm and occasionally blood.
Causes: A viral or bacterial infection, rarely yeast, fungal or protozoal organisms. Usually only occur in people who are suffering from other diseases and whose natural immunity have been impaired.
Possible complications: Pleurisy, Empyema
Treatment in the home: None
When to consult a doctor: As soon as symptoms appear
What the doctor may do: Examine you to confirm the diagnosis, arrange for X-rays, blood and sputum tests if pneumonia is suspected. Prescribe antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection. These may be given as tablets or capsules, or in severe cases by injection. Prescribe analgesics to reduce fever and relieve pain. Arrange for physiotherapy. Admission to hospital is often recommended, particularly when oxygen therapy is required, or when the patient is very young or elderly.