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What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease due to an infection in the lungs. It affects the small air sacs in the lungs called alveoli, that become infected, reducing lung capacity and decreasing of oxygen levels. Pneumonia usually starts from an upper respiratory infection due to viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Bacteria and viral pneumonia can be spread through airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. It may also be contracted through contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with pneumonia-causing bacteria or viruses. You may get pneumonia through places such as hospitals, in public, through a ventilator as well as when you inhale contaminated food, stomach acid, or saliva into your lungs.

What are the symptoms of Pneumonia?

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Confusion 
  • Cough with phlegm
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Lower than normal body temperature
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

How is Pneumonia diagnosed?

Blood Test
A  blood test will be done to check for elevated white blood cell levels which are indicative of an infection.

Imaging Test
Lung imaging tests are done with ultrasound or CT scan to check the lungs for fluid build-up.

Pulse Oximetry Test
A pulse oximetry test is done to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Sputum test
A sputum test is done to check if an infection is caused by bacteria, virus or fungi.

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Dr. Jim Teo

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