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Community pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that develops outside the hospital environment, that is, in the community. This type of pneumonia is mainly caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, but it can also be caused by other types of bacteria, in addition to viruses and fungi.
The symptoms of community pneumonia are the same as those of common pneumonia, being differentiated only by the infectious agent and environment in which the infection occurred, the main ones being high fever, chest pain, excessive tiredness and lack of appetite, for example.
The diagnosis of community pneumonia is made by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the person, in addition to imaging and laboratory tests to identify the causative agent of pneumonia and, thus, indicating the most appropriate treatment, which can be done with antibiotics or antivirals.
Symptoms of community pneumonia
Community pneumonia symptoms appear a few days after contact with the microorganism responsible for pneumonia, being more frequent to develop in people who have a more compromised immune system, the main ones being:
- Fever above 38ºC;
- Cough with phlegm;
- Chest pain;
- Weakness and easy tiredness.
As soon as the first signs and symptoms of community-acquired pneumonia appear, it is important that the person consults the pulmonologist or general practitioner so that the diagnosis is made and the most appropriate treatment started, thus being possible to avoid the development of complications, such as generalized infection and coma, for example.
How the diagnosis is made
The initial diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia is made by the pulmonologist or general practitioner by analyzing the signs and symptoms presented by the person. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may request imaging tests such as chest X-ray, chest ultrasound and chest computed tomography. Imaging tests, in addition to being important in the diagnosis, are also useful to assess the extent of pneumonia.
In addition, the doctor may also indicate that tests are carried out to identify the microorganism responsible for the infection, and microbiological analysis of blood, urine or sputum, for example, may be indicated.
How to be treated
Treatment of community-acquired pneumonia is done according to the doctor's advice and involves, in most cases, the use of antibiotics such as Azithromycin, Ceftriaxone or Levofloxacin. However, in cases where the pneumonia is caused by a virus, the use of antiviral drugs such as Zanovir and Rimantadine may be recommended.
Symptoms improve around the 3rd day, but if there is an increase in fever or in the amount of secretions, it is important to inform the pulmonologist to adjust the treatment after performing blood and phlegm tests.
Pneumonia can be treated at home, however, in some cases, such as severe pneumonia, in patients with heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, treatment can be performed in the hospital, complemented by physical therapy to clear infected secretions and improve breathing.
During treatment in patients over 50 years of age, who are smokers, or who do not show improvement in symptoms, it may be necessary to perform additional tests, such as chest x-ray, to observe the evolution of the infection in the lungs.