Board Certified Pulmonologists & Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physicians located in Joliet and New Lenox, IL


About Pneumonia

Pneumonia may seem like a typical cold at first, but your cough, fever, and difficulty breathing can quickly worsen and turn into a severe illness. The skilled group of pulmonary specialists at Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. in Joliet and New Lenox, Illinois, can quickly evaluate your health, diagnose pneumonia, and start personalized treatment. Don’t wait to seek help for this potentially life-threatening illness, especially if you’re over 65 or have a chronic heart or lung condition. Call the nearest office or use online booking to schedule a complete chest and lung evaluation today.

Pneumonia Q & A

What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a bacteria, virus, or, less often, a fungus. The most common causes include:

  • Flu viruses
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19)
  • Rhinovirus (causes the common cold)
  • Pneumococcal disease (infections caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae)

You can also develop pneumonia while in the hospital. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria that’s hard to treat.

What symptoms does pneumonia cause?

Pneumonia develops when your lung airways and tissues become inflamed, and fluid builds up, causing the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough (with or without mucus)
  • Chest pain when breathing or coughing
  • Fever, sweating, and chills
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Bluish skin, lips, or nails
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Fever

Mild pneumonia may seem more like having a cold, but the infection can quickly turn into a serious and potentially life-threatening illness, especially if you’re over 65, have a chronic heart or lung condition, or have a weak immune system.

Pneumonia increases the stress on your heart, significantly increasing your risk of developing heart failure and having a heart attack.

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

The experienced pulmonary experts at Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. learn about your symptoms, complete a physical exam, and listen to your lungs for sounds typical of pneumonia. Then, they run blood tests to assess your overall health and take chest X-rays to diagnose pneumonia.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and age, your provider may perform additional tests, such as pulse oximetry, an arterial blood gas test, or a bronchoscopy (to look inside your lungs and take a mucus sample).

How is pneumonia treated?

Your Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. provider recommends personalized treatment based on the type of pneumonia, the severity of your illness, your overall health, and your risk of developing serious complications.

Your pneumonia treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics (to treat bacterial pneumonia)
  • Medications to lower a fever and ease pain
  • Antiviral or antifungal medications
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Thoracentesis
  • Smoking cessation

Your provider may recommend cough medicine to help you sleep. However, coughing helps loosen and eliminate excess mucus in your lungs, so they may suggest avoiding medication during the day.

Don’t wait to seek help if you have symptoms like a cough, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. Call Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. or book a pneumonia evaluation online today.