Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is a type of pneumonia that is contracted during one’s stay in a hospital – typically occurring within 48 hours. Common bacteria that cause it include ram-negative bacilli and Staphylococcus aureus. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is particularly dangerous as it is often resistant to antibiotics.
The risk for hospital-acquired pneumonia can be quite high for some patients, as they are already sick and their immune systems are often weak from fighting off another illness. Hence, preventative measures are of utmost importance for lowering the risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia to avoid further health complications.
Signs and symptoms of hospital-acquired pneumonia include the following:
Seniors over 65 and people in poor health may have a lower body temperature. Older people can also experience sudden changes in mental awareness. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can even be a life-threatening to seniors.
Pneumonia is a lung infection, which inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. Have you heard about fluid in the lungs and difficulty breathing? With pneumonia, the inflamed air sacs can fill with fluid or pus, causing all the coughing and phlegm – often chronic symptoms of pneumonia in adults.
How does this happen? A number of organisms, most commonly bacteria, viruses, and fungi, get into our system, usually through the air we breathe. A strong immune system is essential for resisting the infection, particularly for seniors and others at higher risk.
The following are the most common causes of pneumonia:
Further, there is hospital-acquired pneumonia and healthcare center-acquired pneumonia, both of which can be more serious because the bacteria causing these often are resistant to antibiotics.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that is acquired within 48 hours of your hospital stay. It is primarily caused by bacteria, and patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia usually present with a combination of fever (or hypothermia), leukocytosis (or leukopenia), increased tracheal secretions, and poor oxygenation.
Related: Is Pneumonia Contagious?
The main risk factor for hospital-acquired pneumonia is simply staying in a hospital. Patients who are more susceptible to contracting hospital-acquired pneumonia during their stay may have some of the following risk factors:
Hospital-acquired pneumonia is diagnosed with the presentation of symptoms while being in a hospital. Your doctor may also run other tests to confirm diagnosis. Diagnostic tests for hospital-acquired pneumonia include arterial blood gases, blood cultures, chest X-ray, CT scan, complete blood count, pulse oximetry (measures oxygen in the blood), and sputum culture.
Treatment for hospital-acquired pneumonia includes antibiotics administered intravenously, oxygen to assist with breathing, and a ventilator to support breathing.
If you are visiting someone in a hospital, you can also employ some preventative measures reduce their risk of developing hospital-acquired pneumonia. Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer. If you are sick with a cold or flu, postpone your visit until you get better.
Surgeons and doctors often recommend to their patients who have undergone a surgery to move around often in order to keep their lungs clear as another prevention method against hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Lastly, many hospitals have protocols in place to lower incidence rates of hospital-acquired pneumonia.
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