Atypical pneumonia is a lung infection.
â€œTypical pneumoniaâ€ is a severe illness. It is usually caused by bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae or Klebsiella pneumoniae . Typical pneumonia tends to strike older individuals, especially those with heart or lung conditions.
In contrast, atypical pneumonia tends to be a milder illness. It is caused by a different assortment of bacteria or viruses, and it usually strikes healthy young people.
All types of pneumonia are potentially serious conditions that require care from your doctor.The Lungs (Cut-away View)
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Atypical pneumonia is usually caused by:
The following factors increase your chance of developing atypical pneumonia:
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume the cause is due to pneumonia. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and do a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Usually, atypical pneumonia due to bacteria can be treated with oral antibiotics at home. However, more severe pneumonia may require intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Some of the antibiotics used to treat atypical pneumonia include erythromycin , azithromycin , and clarithromycin .
Viral pneumonia will not respond to antibiotic treatment.
If you are severely ill from pneumonia, you may need extra oxygen.
If you are diagnosed with pneumonia, follow your doctor's instructions .
To help reduce your chances of getting pneumonia, take the following steps:
Last reviewed January 2009 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.