With symptoms ranging from mild to severe, pneumonia is a common lung infection typically caused by a virus, bacteria and sometimes fungi. People over the age of 65, and/or have a previously diagnosed lung disease are more susceptible to getting pneumonia, either as a primary infection, or as a complication of the flu or other viral upper respiratory illness. There are lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol in excess, which also increase your risk. Depending on the cause, the treatment is often medication combined with symptom management.

The top causes of the condition are considered ‘community acquired’ and include: the flu virus, a cold virus and a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It occurs when the small air sacs in your lungs, known as alveoli, fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe. The condition is contagious if it is caused by a bacteria or a virus, therefore precautions should be taken to avoid spreading the illness.


The symptoms can vary depending on your age and your overall health. The most common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • A productive cough that produces mucus or phlegm
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever, chills
  • Shortness of breath

If you have been diagnosed with pneumonia, Pulmonary Associates of Richmond can offer suggestions to help alleviate symptoms and manage the illness until you are better.


It is important to seek medical attention if you have symptoms of pneumonia. The providers at Pulmonary Associates of Richmond are highly trained in diagnosing and treating the condition and getting you back to feeling better and enjoying life.

The first step in diagnosis is to have a provider listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. From there, your physician can determine if you need a chest x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis will help guide your doctor as to what treatment is right for you.


Treatment will vary depending on the cause, however with most kinds of pneumonia, your doctor will recommend plenty of rest and fluids to maintain hydration. Pneumonia caused by a virus will likely have to run its course and you can manage the symptoms of fever with over the counter fever reducing medication. Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics and you should make sure to finish all of the medication as prescribed by your doctor.


In accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Pulmonary Associates of Richmond recommends all adults, age 65 and over, receive the two part pneumococcal vaccines. These vaccines are separated by a year and help prevent specific types of pneumonia strains that can be very serious. Patients with certain health conditions are strongly encouraged to get the pneumococcal vaccines as an infection can exacerbate a chronic lung condition.

All patients, 65 and older, are strongly encouraged to get an annual flu shot to help prevent the flu, which can lead to secondary infections such as pneumonia.