As Texas enters the cold and flu season, you may be wondering, “Can urgent care diagnose pneumonia in Houston?” It’s important to know where you can get medical care for a potentially life-threatening infection that affects 1.7 million Americans each year. The short answer is yes, urgent care clinics and emergency rooms can diagnose and treat cases of pneumonia! Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of pneumonia and available treatment options.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs resulting from the common cold or certain upper respiratory infections. When a person has pneumonia, the air sacs that carry air into the lungs become inflamed and fill with fluid or pus, causing breathing problems. In severe cases, the lungs can shut down entirely, resulting in death.
Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Different types of pneumonia, developing from different causes, may be treated differently. Bacterial pneumonia, the most common form of the infection, occurs when a person breathes in infected air.
While pneumonia can occur in anyone, including otherwise healthy people, young children, the elderly, immunocompromised people, and those with preexisting lung issues or chronic health issues are among the most at risk for severe complications resulting from pneumonia.
Pneumonia vs. Walking Pneumonia
You have likely heard the phrase “walking pneumonia” before and may be wondering how it differs from pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is a less severe version of pneumonia that infects the upper and lower respiratory tract, but does not require hospitalization or extended bed rest.
Signs of walking pneumonia are less severe and often the condition can be mistaken for the common cold or display no noticeable symptoms at all. However, cold symptoms that last longer than 7 to 10 days could indicate the presence of walking pneumonia. If you suspect that you have walking pneumonia, head to an urgent care clinic or another care facility as soon as possible to seek treatment.
Symptoms & Treatment Options
Pneumonia symptoms can include, but are not limited to, the following and can fluctuate in severity:
- Cough (Productive or Dry)
- Difficulty Breathing or Shortness of Breath
- Mucus (Colored Brown, Green, or Containing Blood)
- Rapid Heartbeat or Chest Pain
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Confusion (In the Elderly)
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Muscle Aches
- Sore Throat or Difficulty Swallowing
- Bluish Tint to Lips or Fingertips
- Symptoms Persisting More than 7 to 10 Days
A chest x-ray or blood test may be used by a medical professional to diagnose the presence of pneumonia and determine the severity of the infection. Bacterial pneumonia is normally treated with antibiotics; steroids or other cough medicines may also be used depending on the severity of symptoms.
In less severe cases of the illness, symptoms can be treated with ample bed rest, sleep, and fluids for up to three weeks. Over the counter medications can be used to alleviate discomfort caused by coughing, congestion, and fever.
Seek help from an urgent care center or emergency room if your mucus is severely discolored (dark brown, green, or bloody) for more than two days and you are experiencing a fever of 101 degrees or greater.
How to Prevent Pneumonia
There are many simple things you can do to avoid coming down with a case of pneumonia.
Make sure to do the following:
- Stay current on all vaccines, including flu shots.
- Manage any chronic health conditions.
- Stay as healthy as possible.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean any infected surfaces.
- Avoid coming into contact with people infected with pneumonia.
- Wear a protective face covering to avoid contact with airborne particles.
Get the Care You Deserve from Village Emergency Centers
If you or a loved one develops a case of pneumonia, don’t panic! Head to a trusted physician or medical care clinic to get help diagnosing and treating your condition. Actively monitor your symptoms for signs of worsening and reach out to your Village to get the peace of mind and the care you deserve. Find your Village today by visiting our website.