Hillary Clinton Dealing with Pneumonia

Although last week Hillary Clinton‘s cough was laughingly described as an allergy to Donald Trump, seems that cough is a little more serious than Clinton was willing to let on.

After leaving NYC’s 9-11 Memorial Service after only an hour, Clinton was seen to stumble as she was helped into her car. Although originally attributed to dehydration, Clinton’s physician Lisa R. Bardack said in a statement:

“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies.  On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Clinton didn’t change her schedule after her diagnosis, attending a national-security meeting, talking to reporters and attending a fundraiser that day. She attended additional meetings on Saturday, and did not want to miss the 9-11 Memorial on Sunday.

Later Sunday afternoon, Clinton seemed better, as she was seen leaving daughter Chelsea’s house. She stopped and greeted well-wishers on the street.

It was announced today that Clinton has cancelled her political activities during a previously planned trip to California. It is not clear whether she’ll send her husband as a surrogate in her stead.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs. Many small germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia.The infection causes your lungs’ air sacs, called alveoli, to become inflamed. The air sacs may fill up with fluid or pus, causing symptoms such as a cough (with phlegm), fever, chills, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be a complication of upper respiratory infections, such as colds or flu, because the mucus in the airways is an excellent growth medium for germs.

 

Source: NHLBI

Germs That Can Cause Pneumonia

Bacteria

Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults. Some people, especially the elderly and those who are disabled, may get bacterial pneumonia after having the flu or even a common cold.

Many types of bacteria can cause pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia can occur on its own or develop after you’ve had a cold or the flu. This type of pneumonia often affects one lobe, or area, of a lung. When this happens, the condition is called lobar pneumonia.

The most common cause of pneumonia in the United States is the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus.

Another type of bacterial pneumonia is called atypical pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia includes:

  • Legionella pneumophila. This type of pneumonia sometimes is called Legionnaire’s disease, and it has caused serious outbreaks. Outbreaks have been linked to exposure to cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains.
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia. This is a common type of pneumonia that usually affects people younger than 40 years old. People who live or work in crowded places like schools, homeless shelters, and prisons are at higher risk for this type of pneumonia. It’s usually mild and responds well to treatment with antibiotics. However, mycoplasma pneumonia can be very serious. It may be associated with a skin rash and hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells).
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can occur all year and often is mild. The infection is most common in people 65 to 79 years old.

Viruses

Respiratory viruses cause up to one-third of the pneumonia cases in the United States each year. These viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 5 years old.

Most cases of viral pneumonia are mild. They get better in about 1 to 3 weeks without treatment. Some cases are more serious and may require treatment in a hospital.

If you have viral pneumonia, you run the risk of getting bacterial pneumonia as well.

The flu virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults. Other viruses that cause pneumonia include respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, herpes simplex virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and more.

Fungi

Three types of fungi in the soil in some parts of the United States can cause pneumonia. These fungi are:

  • Coccidioidomycosis. This fungus is found in Southern California and the desert Southwest.
  • Histoplasmosis. This fungus is found in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys.
  • Cryptococcus. This fungus is found throughout the United States in bird droppings and soil contaminated with bird droppings.

Most people exposed to these fungi don’t get sick, but some do and require treatment.

Serious fungal infections are most common in people who have weak immune systems due to the long-term use of medicines to suppress their immune systems or having HIV/AIDS.

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

pneumonia xrayDoctors listening to the chest with a stethoscope may hear a bubbling or crackling sound (called rales) or a harsh rumblings (called rhonchi) if pneumonia is present. Confirmation of the disease is made with an x-ray, which will show an area of increased “whiteness” in the infected area (normal lung tissue is mostly black on x-ray).

Symptoms of pneumonia can be mild to severe. Treatment is dependent on the organism causing the pneumonia- viruses can be treated symptomatically or with anti-viral medications, bacteria with antibiotics specific to the organism present.

Pneumonia tends to be more serious for:

  • Infants and young children.
  • Older adults (people 65 years or older).
  • People who have other health problems like heart failure, diabetes, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
  • People who have weak immune systems as a result of diseases or other factors. These may include HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer), or an organ or bone marrow transplant.

How is pneumonia treated?

Pneumonia is common in the United States. Treatment for pneumonia depends on its cause, how severe your symptoms are, and your age and overall health. Many people can be treated at home, often with oral antibiotics.

Children usually start to feel better in 1 to 2 days. For adults, it usually takes 2 to 3 days. Anyone who has worsening symptoms should see a doctor.

People who have severe symptoms or underlying health problems may need treatment in a hospital. It may take 3 weeks or more before they can go back to their normal routines.

Fatigue (tiredness) from pneumonia can last for a month or more.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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