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Pneumonia: Different Types and Treatments

Pneumonia is an infection of the small air sacs in the lungs (alveoli). These air sacs are filled with pus or fluid and can cause mild or severe illness, depending on various factors such as age and the type of pneumonia you have.

Knowing which type is very important so that we get the right treatment. Different types of pneumonia sometimes need very different treatments.

For example, one group of bacteria that causes may not respond to the same antibiotics as another group, and antibiotics won’t help at all if the cause of pneumonia is caused by a virus or some other, less common.

Pneumonia Different Types

Knowing the type of pneumonia will help doctors because it affects the therapy given. Pneumonia is grouped into three broad categories which include bacterial, fungal, and viral based. This is a review of the types.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia

As the name suggests, hospital-acquired pneumonia occurs when a person is hospitalized. Reported by WebMD, this can be serious because the bacteria that cause can be antibiotic resistant.

You can have hospital-acquired if:

  • Treated using a respirator.
  • Not coughing hard enough to clear the lungs.
  • Using a tracheostomy tube (trach) to help with breathing. Weakened immune system due to illness or medication.


  • Community pneumonia or community-acquired is caused by transmission that is acquired in the community, not obtained in a hospital setting.
  • Community pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Vaccines can help protect us from the flu virus and some bacteria that can cause.

Doctors can determine the type of community pneumonia based on its cause, namely bacteria, viruses, or fungi.


Bacterial pneumonia is a type of community-acquired pneumonia caused by bacteria, most commonly Streptococcus pneumoniae, according to the American Lung Association. These are bacteria that normally live in the upper respiratory tract that can enter the lungs and cause an infection.

You can get bacterial on its own or after you catch a virus such as a cold or flu.

However, Streptococcus pneumoniae is not the only type of bacteria that can cause bacterial pneumonia. Several types of these bacteria can also cause:

  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae.
  • Legionella pneumophila.
  • Treatment is available with very good and specific antibiotics to treat bacterial. However, first the doctor must identify the bacteria that causes it.

If our immune system is weak, the risk of getting is higher. You are also more likely to develop if you have a condition such as asthma, emphysema or heart disease.

Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:

  • Cough with phlegm.
  • Fever over 38 degrees Celsius.
  • Quick breath.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fatigue.

Viral Pneumonia

Community pneumonia can also be caused by a virus. According to MedlinePlus, this is called viral pneumonia. Some viruses that can cause include:

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • Influenza viruses.
  • Parainfluenza viruses.
  • Adenoviruses.
  • measles virus
  • COVID-19.

Common symptoms of viral include:

  • Fever.
  • shivers.
  • Dry cough, which may get worse and produce mucus.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Muscle ache.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weakness.
  • The above symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Antibiotics cannot treat viral pneumonia. However, there are some medications that can help if the infection is caught early. These include antiviral medications and corticosteroids which will try to reduce inflammation.

In more severe cases, you may need treatment with supplemental oxygen. For mild cases, doctors usually recommend resting at home and increasing fluid intake.

Walking pneumonia

Walking pneumonia is a less severe form of bacterial. Sometimes, doctors call it atypical pneumonia.

Reported by Health, is not necessarily a true medical diagnosis. This means that whatever the cause of pneumonia, it’s not severe enough to make you bedridden. In the case of this type, you may feel sick, but you are still able to do most activities.

Walking pneumonia can come from one of the main, namely bacteria, viruses, or fungi. However, the American Lung Association says that walking is most often the result of infection with the Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria, which usually causes mild infections of the respiratory system.

Symptoms of running can be so mild that you may not even know you have it. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Headache.
  • shivers.
  • Antibiotics can treat the infection. You will usually feel better in 3 to 5 days, but cough symptoms can last for several weeks.


Fungus is a less common cause of pneumonia. This can occur as a result of inhaling mold spores.

It is very unlikely that you will develop fungal pneumonia if you are healthy. However, we will be more at risk of getting fungal pneumonia if the immune system is weakened because:

  • Organ transplant.
  • Chemotherapy for cancer.
  • Medicines to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • HIV.

People in certain occupations are more likely to come into contact with mold spores, such as:

  • Farmers working around bird, bat, or rodent droppings.
  • Landscape worker and gardener working with soil.
  • Military members or construction workers around a lot of dust.
  • Symptoms of fungal pneumonia are similar to other types, such as fever and cough.


Chemical pneumonia is caused by inhaled toxins. Classic chemical is caused by chlorine gas, which was used as a weapon in World War I.

However, it’s also possible to develop chemical by accidentally inhaling large amounts of fumes from cleaning supplies, swimming pool equipment, even air fresheners if they are sprayed directly into someone’s airways. These are all physically irritating to the lungs.

Acute symptoms may include:

  • Feeling of not getting enough air
  • Breathing that sounds wet or gurgling (abnormal lung sounds).
  • Cough.
  • It’s hard to breathe.
  • Unusual sensation (possibly a burning feeling) in the chest.

Chronic symptoms may include:

Cough (may or may not occur).
Progressive disability (associated with shortness of breath).
Rapid breathing (tachypnea).
Shortness of breath with only light exercise.
For treatment, corticosteroids can help with inflammation, according to MedlinePlus. Then, the doctor will usually provide supportive care until the lungs can heal on their own. This may involve supplemental oxygen, fluids, to mechanical ventilation.


Aspiration pneumonia is an infection that can occur when we accidentally inhale substances into the lungs, such as stomach acid or food particles. This causes inflammation and sometimes this injury can be followed by a secondary bacterial infection.

This condition is more common in people who have a brain injury, neurological disorder, difficulty swallowing, or have used drugs or alcohol—anything that can interfere with the gag reflex that helps keep these substances out of the lungs.

Treatment for aspiration pneumonia varies. If the aspiration is small and there are no signs of secondary infection, the doctor usually treats it supportively with oxygen and prevents further aspiration. Most patients recover completely.

If there are more particles in your airways, you may need a breathing tube and a procedure called a bronchoscopy to help remove them all. Antibiotics may also be needed.

Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of bacteria, fungi, or viruses. By diagnosing the type of pneumonia you have, you will be one step closer to recovery. Whether it’s with antibiotics, additional oxygen, or rest, the doctor can determine you have and provide treatment according to the conditions.

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