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3 Types of Pneumonia and How to Treat Them

Wednesday, November 06, 2019 2:02 PM

By: Lauren McRae

With cold and flu season ramping up, the risk of pneumonia increases dramatically. Children under the age of two, as well as adults over 65, have the highest risk to catch pneumonia. The Internal Medicine Experts at NorthShore discuss which types of pneumonia you should know and prevention.


  • Viral Pneumonia. This is most commonly caused by other viruses such as the flu but can also be triggered by bacteria. Viral Pneumonia can be transmitted through fluid after someone sneezes or coughs. Symptoms of this strain of pneumonia include dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, and possibly pain in the chest when breathing. The most common treatment of this type of pneumonia is antiviral medication as well as symptomatic treatment.
  • Bacterial Pneumonia. This type of pneumonia is found in the lungs and is caused by bacteria, the most common being Streptococcus. Bacterial pneumonia often occurs in people over the age of 65 as well as in people with asthma or heart disease. Much like viral pneumonia, it has symptoms that include high fever, green or yellow mucus, and the chills. Antibiotics are the most frequently used way to treat bacterial pneumonia.
  • Mycoplasma Pneumonia. Commonly referred to as “Walking Pneumonia” this is a less severe type of pneumonia which is often confused with a cold or flu. This type of pneumonia has symptoms such as sore throat, headaches, and tiredness. Antibiotics can be used for treatment.

NorthShore doctors share prevention tips:

  • Wash hands well and often, pneumonia is spread quickly through coughing and sneezing
  • Drink lots of fluids and eat right
  • Follow good sleep habits to keep the immune system balanced
  • Stop smoking
  • Get flu and pneumonia shots

It is recommended to see a doctor when a fever is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, experiencing distressed breathing or are having chest pains.