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What Are the Different Types of Lung Infection?

Chest congestion is a common symptom of bacterial lung infections.
Viral lung infections often bring fever and other flu-like symptoms.
Fatigue can be a symptom of a fungal infection.
Symptoms of a lung infection commonly include shortness of breath and chest pain.
The human respiratory system, showing the trachea, bronchioles, and lungs.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, which can cause a lung infection.
A human respiratory system.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
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There are several different types of lung infections, including bacterial infections, viral infections, and fungal infections. Common symptoms may include difficulty breathing, chest congestion, and back pain. Treatment will depend on the exact cause of the infection, but some of the more typical treatment options include the use of antibiotics, antiviral medications, or steroid medications.

Bacterial lung infections are relatively common causes of lung inflammation. Symptoms of this type of condition frequently include an increased production of mucus, often leading to chest congestion. Some patients may also develop a skin rash or other forms of skin irritation. Treatment typically involves the use of prescription antibiotics.

A viral lung infection does not respond to antibiotics and typically just needs to run its course. There are some antiviral medications that may help to reduce the length of the infection, but there is no actual cure. Common symptoms of these infections include a cough, sore throat, and fever. Ear infections are also common with this type of infection. In severe cases, the affected person may have difficulty breathing and require emergency medical assistance.

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Fungus, like candida, can also cause a lung infection. These types of infections often have the same symptoms as influenza or pneumonia. Some potential symptoms are fatigue and cough, with or without the production of excess mucus. Muscle pain and shortness of breath are also common with this type of lung infection. Anti-fungal medications may be prescribed, although care should be taken, as this type of medication may interact negatively with other medications. In some cases, when the fungus creates a large enough mass to potentially cause a blockage, surgery will be performed to remove this ball of fungus.

A pseudomonas lung infection is technically a bacterial infection, but tends to occur only in patients who are very ill. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria that causes this condition, is known as an opportunistic pathogen, meaning that the bacteria normally does not cause illness unless the patient's immune system is already compromised by severe illness. Patients who are hospitalized or are suffering with diseases such as AIDS are the most susceptible to this type of infection. Antibiotics or surgical intervention are typically used to treat this condition, with successful treatment depending on the overall health of the patient.

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Valencia
Post 2

@Penzance356 - I know, it does sound really unpleasant! To answer your questions, I'm confident that a doctor would know which tests to order to confirm the correct lung infection diagnosis.

In my experience many doctors want to know if the infection is viral or bacterial to avoid giving you unnecessary antibiotics, which would be essentially useless if you had a fungal lung infection, since you would need an antifungal.

Penzance356
Post 1

It surprised me to read about fungal lung infections. I have never thought about this outside of the usual candida/thrush problems that most people experience at some time.

The thought of a ball of fungus growing inside your body is really unpleasant! Is this a more severe lung infection than the bacterial or viral type? I imagine it is harder to diagnose because it is less common, and the symptoms seem to be more unusual.

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