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What is Recurring Pneumonia?

By Nat Robinson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Pneumonia is a respiratory-related condition resulting from inflammation in one or both lungs. The most general cause of pneumonia is an infection. An individual who gets this condition two or more times within a year has recurring pneumonia. There are certain situations that may make this illness more likely. For instance, those with weak or delicate immune systems may be more prone to this condition.

Recurring pneumonia may be caused by a virus or miscellaneous kinds of bacteria. One of the most frequent causes of pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumonia may recur due to a repeated introduction of this bacteria or that of another kind into the lungs. An existing cold or case of influenza often develops into pneumonia. In fact, viruses are some of the most common reasons for recurrent pneumonia in children.

Other types of pneumonia may have different causes. Walking pneumonia, medically known as atypical pneumonia, can be a recurrent form of this condition. A person can have atypical pneumonia and be totally unaware. This irregular form of the respiratory condition is generally caused by different types of bacteria. Pneumonia of this kind is usually caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae, which may present milder than usual symptoms.

There may be certain influences that can lead to recurring pneumonia. An ongoing lung disease may cause the condition to quickly return. For example, individuals with diseases like cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have pneumonia more frequently. Asthma, frequent stays in the hospital and having fragile overall health can also put a person more at risk. In addition, long-term cigarette smoking can weaken the lungs and make pneumonia more likely to recur.

A persistent cough in which the person expels a thick mucus is commonly a symptom of recurring pneumonia. Sometimes, taking a deep breath or repeated coughing will cause chest pain. There may also be a headache, chills and body aches, commonly fixated in the muscles. Other symptoms can include a fever, sweating and a decrease in appetite. People with certain illnesses and older individuals may interestingly have more lenient symptoms.

Bacterial recurring pneumonia may be treated using antibiotics. This same treatment may or may not be used for pneumonia caused by a virus. Antibiotics are often not as effective for viral forms of this condition. For self help of pneumonia, most doctors recommend that patients consume a variety of decaffeinated liquids, which may loosen phlegm or mucus. In addition, rest will also be important and anti-inflammatory medicines may be used to reduce an existing fever.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1001426 — On Apr 11, 2019

My husband had both the pneumonia and flu shots this year, but still caught flu which turned to pneumonia. He had to be ventilated but after two months in the hospital, he lost his fight for life.

By anon345065 — On Aug 15, 2013

My five year old has had two bouts of pneumonia this year. I believe a third is coming on. We don't know what caused it but I am looking into everything I can do on my end to prevent it again, including staying away from inflammatory foods! I pray he will grow out of it and it's not asthma.

By myharley — On Oct 20, 2012

My son has had asthma since he was little and has had more than one bout of pneumonia. I often wondered if pneumonia was contagious, but when I asked the pediatrician about this he said it wasn't.

It can be pretty scary when your child has asthma that turns into pneumonia. When he has trouble breathing it can send me into a panic if I don't force myself to remain calm. I have learned when the asthma symptoms get to a certain point and don't get better, it is time to get him started on some different medication so it won't turn into pneumonia.

By golf07 — On Oct 19, 2012

One year I was feeling crummy for a long time but was able to get up, go to work and carry on with my activities. I didn't feel bad enough to stay in bed, but I didn't have much energy either. Finally I went to the doctor and he told me I had walking pneumonia. I was pretty surprised by this pneumonia diagnosis as I had never had this before. I didn't feel like my symptoms were classic for pneumonia, but the medication he gave me cleared it up pretty quickly. I only wish I had been seen earlier as I could have felt better sooner than I did.

By SarahSon — On Oct 19, 2012

I think once a person has had pneumonia they have a much better chance of getting it again. At least that is what they told my husband when he came down with pneumonia twice during one winter. For many years he would get a bad case of bronchitis once a year, but this finally got so bad that it turned into pneumonia.

Ever since then he tries to do everything he can to prevent this from happening again. If pneumonia isn't treated soon enough it can be life threatening. The first time he came down with this the antibiotics weren't working very well, and they had to give him a stronger dose.

When he contracted pneumonia for the second time that season, they just started him out with a pretty strong dose of antibiotics so it wouldn't get out of control.

By John57 — On Oct 18, 2012

@anon135482-- I have a good friend who has smoked most of his life. He has developed COPD and has a chronic cough and I think feels miserable most of the time. He has been hospitalized more than once for pneumonia and some years has it two or three times.

He knows the cause of his pneumonia is from his years of smoking and wishes he would have never started. While he takes medication to help with his COPD symptoms, and takes antibiotics when he gets pneumonia, this is still a miserable way to live.

By anon135482 — On Dec 19, 2010

My father who is now 80+ has been getting sick with pneumonia very frequently. He had been a very heavy smoker in his younger days and is prone to falling sick very often. He takes the necessary precautions like nebulised antibiotics and all the medicines that are needed but how can he refrain from going to crowded places, as that is what the doctor has suggested he do!

He still, by the grace of God, leads an active life as far as his work is concerned, and may he keep that up.

Just a warning to all smokers: you enjoy that puff today and regret it later. That enjoyment is just not worth it. Look beyond and you will see a healthier picture from that smoke that you are emitting from that cigarette. Take control today.

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