What is aspiration pneumonia?

Aspiration Pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia: Overview

Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs. It may occur after you breathe in foreign material, such as food, liquid, vomit, or mucus.

Aspiration may happen because of a health problem that makes it hard to swallow. These problems include stroke or seizure.

Pneumonia makes it hard to breathe.

Aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by breathing in foreign material, such as food, liquid, vomit, or mucus. This can happen when a person has become weakened by an illness such as a seizure or stroke that affects the ability to swallow.

Pneumonia can make it hard to breathe. This can reduce the amount of oxygen that gets into the bloodstream. This form of pneumonia is more common in people whose immune systems are weakened by disease or medicines. People who have aspiration pneumonia are usually treated with antibiotics in a hospital to prevent or treat an infection.

What are the symptoms of aspiration pneumonia in children?

Your child's symptoms may include:

  • Fever, cough, or trouble breathing.
  • Chest pain from coughing.

How is aspiration pneumonia in children treated?

  • The doctor may give your child antibiotics.
  • Your child may get medicines to help with breathing, coughing, and fever.
  • Mild pneumonia often goes away in 2 to 3 weeks. Your child may need 6 to 8 weeks or longer to recover from a bad case.
  • Your doctor will want you to keep your child away from smoke. After your child goes home, do not smoke or allow anyone else to smoke in your house.

How is aspiration pneumonia diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and listen to your lungs. You may have a chest X-ray. Other tests may be done to find what caused the pneumonia. For example, the doctor may take a sample of your blood or mucus.

How can you care for yourself when you have aspiration pneumonia?

While you're recovering, take medicines as instructed. If antibiotics were prescribed, take the full course. Get plenty of rest. If you smoke, try to quit. If you were given instructions to help you swallow more safely, make sure to follow them.

What is aspiration pneumonia in children?

Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammation of your child's lungs. It may have happened after your child breathed in (aspirated) a foreign substance. This could be a substance such as food, liquid, vomit, or mucus.

Aspiration may have happened because your child has a health problem that makes it hard to swallow normally.

Pneumonia makes it hard for your child to breathe. Your child may get medicines to help with breathing. Or your child may need oxygen.

Your child may get fluids and medicines through a tube in a vein (I.V.).

Aspiration pneumonia: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • You have new or worse trouble breathing.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.
  • You are coughing more deeply or more often.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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