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Question:

Community acquired pneumonia bacterial or viral

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I was told by my doctor that I have pneumonia, but no tests were taken to determine if it was bacterial or viral, yet I was given antibiotics anyway. If it is viral.. antibiotics won't work and will only kill off my "good guys". Shouldn't my doctor have done some test? I was not even exrayed. She relied on her nurse practioners keen ears and observations questions etc. This did come on suddenly on Sunday, first night thru am hrs ran a low grade fever, chills, coughing, extreme yellow mucus in sinuses, with greenish phlegm coughing up a lot. Nurse said something about lower left lobe and a decrease??? could not understand what she said
Thanks

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Answer:

Mucopurulent sputum production (greenish phlegm and yellow mucus in sinuses) is most frequently found in association with bacterial pneumonia, while scant or watery sputum production is more suggestive of an atypical or viral pathogen. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most frequently isolated organism that causes community acquired pneumonia. Relative to other disease-causing organisms, respiratory viruses, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella spp, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae are also common. The symptoms you describe with fever, chills, and cough all suggest pneumonia; together with the green-coloured sputum suggests a bacterial rather than a viral cause. Therefore antibiotic therapy is directed at the most commonly responsible organisms (above) found in the community, that result in pneumonia.


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