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Home :: Pneumonia, Bacterial

Bacterial Pneumonia

Infection and inflammation of the lungs with bacterial germs. Respiratory disorders of this type are the most common non-injury disorder seen in athletes. This is not usually contagious. Pneumonia is especially likely during cold or harsh weather, or with exhaustive exercise prior to developing sufficient cardiovascular-respiratory conditioning.


Infection with bacteria, such as pneumococci, hemophilus, streptococci or staphylococci, especially in those athletes who smoke or have recently had an illness that lowered resistance.

Signs and symptoms

  • High fever (over 102F or 38.9C) and chills.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cough with sputum that may contain blood or blood streaks.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Chest pain that worsens with inhalations or exercise.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Bluish lips and nails in advanced, untreated pneumonia (rare).


The diagnosis of pneumonia is usually made from a medical history, a physical examination, and a chest X-ray. A doctor who suspects pneumonia begins by taking a thorough medical history and performing a physical examination. Bacterial pneumonias often come on suddenly; creating a cough that produces mucous that is often colored or "rusty", fever, and pain along the chest wall.


Bacterial pneumonia (caused by the streptococcus pneumonia bacteria) is often treated with penicillin, ampicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin) and erythromycin. Bacterial pneumonia (caused by the hemophilus influenza bacteria) is treated with antibiotics, such as cefuroxime (Ceftin), ampicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and trimethoprim-sulfanethoxazole (Bactrim and Septra). Bacterial pneumonia (caused by legionella pneumophilia and staphylococcus aureus bacteria) are treated with antibiotics, such as erythromycin.

Home Treatment

  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture. This helps thin lung secretions so they can be coughed out more easily. Putting medicine in the humidifier probably will not help. Wash the humidifier probably with warm water and detergent at least once a day to prevent growth of harmful germs.
  • Don't suppress the cough with medicine if the cough produces discolored or clear sputum or mucus. It is useful in ridding the body of lung secretions.
  • Suppress the cough with medicine if it is dry, non-productive and painful. Consult your doctor, about a cough suppressant.
  • Use a heating pad or hot compress to relieve chest pain.
  • Obtain prompt medical treatment for respiratory infections (except for uncomplicated common colds).
  • Arrange for pneumococcal and influenza immunizations if you are in a high-risk group. Persons at risk include those with heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, alcoholism, chronic lung disease or who have had recent surgery.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.