Pneumonia: Meaning and Symptoms
Pneumonia Symptoms and Causes
What Is Bacterial Pneumonia?
Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults.
Bacterial pneumonia may follow a viral infection, like a cold or the flu (influenza). This type of pneumonia usually affects one area of the lung and is referred to as lobar pneumonia.
Types of bacteria that cause pneumonia include:
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in adults, called pneumococcal pneumonia. (2)
It may be prevented by a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two pneumonia vaccines for adults 65 years and older: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or Prevnar 13 (PCV13), and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or Pneumovax 23 (PPSV23). (3)
According to the CDC:
- You should receive a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) first, followed at least one year later by a dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).
- If you've already received any doses of PPSV23, the dose of PCV13 should be given at least one year after the most recent PPSV23 dose.
- If you've already received a dose of the PCV13 at a younger age, another dose is not recommended.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae usually infects younger adults who work in crowded areas, such as schools, homeless shelters, or prisons. (4)
Chlamydophila pneumoniae causes a mild pneumonia infection that usually affects people older than 60. (5)
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) infection can be prevented with a vaccine, called the Hib vaccine. It's recommended for all children younger than age 5 and is usually given to infants starting at 2 months old. (6)
Most bacteria that cause pneumonia are pyogenic bacteria, which means that they form pus, a combination of debris from serum, dead bacteria, and white blood cells. A cough that produces discolored mucus in the presence of fever and shortness of breath can be a classic sign of bacterial pneumonia.
Other bacterial pneumonia symptoms include:
- High fever
- Rapid breathing
- Pain when coughing or breathing deeply
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
Bacterial pneumonias tend to be more serious with more noticeable symptoms than other types of pneumonia.
Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Is pneumonia bacterial or viral?
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