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Healthcare-Associated Pneumonia (Nosocomial Pneumonia) - Topic Overview

What is healthcare-associated pneumonia?

Healthcare-associated pneumonia (nosocomial pneumonia) is pneumonia that you get when you are in a hospital or nursing home. Experts generally consider it a more serious illness than pneumonia that people get in daily life (community-associated pneumonia). This is because the person with healthcare-associated pneumonia may already have a serious illness. Healthcare-associated pneumonia is also often caused by bacteria other than Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes most cases of pneumonia. These other bacteria may be stronger and more resistant to antibiotics than S. pneumoniae. So healthcare-associated pneumonia may be harder to treat.

You are more likely to get healthcare-associated pneumonia if you:

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What are the symptoms and how is it diagnosed?

Symptoms of healthcare-associated pneumonia include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough with mucus.
  • Changes in a lung exam or lab test.

It is important to diagnose the condition quickly. If your doctor thinks you have healthcare-associated pneumonia, you will have a chest X-ray. And your doctor will examine a sample of your mucus and blood.

How is healthcare-associated pneumonia treated?

Doctors use antibiotics to treat healthcare-associated pneumonia. Your doctor will probably give you an antibiotic that kills many different bacteria (wide-spectrum) immediately, before he or she can identify the type of bacteria causing the infection. After your doctor knows the specific type of bacteria, he or she may change your antibiotic to target it.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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