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Urgent, do I have pneumonia or not?

By May 7, 2010 - 6:30pm
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I am a university student during the middle of finals and got sick this week. I first went to my campus's medical clinic originally thinking I had strep throat. Based on the doctor's conclusion, I had a viral throat infection. Three days went by and it turned into a whooping cough. I went back to the clinic today and the doctor gave me antibiotics after I told him I coughed up some green gunk. The doctor said my lungs sounded clear. However the amount of pieces of lime green sticky mucus I have been coughing up has increased. My main concern is that I have pneumonia. I have been hospitalized for pneumonia three times and have received the vaccine. Because I have two implanted Neurostimulators, I have to be very careful and try prevent any bacteria from spreading into my leads

Are their some pictures of pneumonia mucus, so that I could compare know if I need to get additional help?

The clinic doctor on campus gave me Azithromycin 250 MG tabs. I had to take two today and for the next four days will take one tablet. If I do have pneumonia or etc, would this antibiotic fight it?

Sorry for the long post. I would appreciate your response very much.

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Hi Amelia-

No one can tell you through a computer whether you have pneumonia. However, there are several things that can make you cough up green goo, and only one of them is pneumonia.

Has the antibiotic helped at all yet? It should make you feel slightly better within a few days. The one you are on is often given for upper respiratory infections, like sinus infections or laryngotracheal bronchitis which is an infection in your trachea rather than your lungs. If your lungs were clear, you did not have pneumonia. However, if you are getting sicker, you could end up with a pneumonia. The vaccine is very helpful but does not prevent every kind of pneumonia. Sometimes when you are starting to heal you cough up even more mucous than before because as the infection starts to clear it loosens things up and helps get them out. So coughing out a little more is not necessarily a bad sign.

I totally understand your concern. My suggestion is if after 3-4 days on antibiotics you do not start to feel a bit better, or if you start to feel worse, with any shortness of breath or chest or back pain, I would go back to the doctor.

The antibiotic that you are on is commonly given for upper respirator infections because it covers a lot of them, but it does not cover all of them. So even though it is often used for a sinus infection, if that antibiotic does not kill the specific bug you are infected with, you will remain infected and may need a culture done or just be switched to another antibiotic.

A good old-fashioned remedy that really does help if it is sinus and throat is a warm salt water gargle several times a day. It helps get some of that stuff out of your throat, is soothing, and may help prevent a big buildup of bacteria there. If it is a sinus infection, plain saline nose spray will help as well. Neither of these can hurt you, whether they help or not. It is worth a try just for the soothing factor.

Good luck on your finals and I hope you feel better soon.

May 8, 2010 - 10:39am
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