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Comprehensive Treatment for Pneumonia


Pneumonia is an infection that causes an inflammation of the lungs. In response to this irritation, the lungs make a large amount of phlegm. To breathe and keep your airways open, you need to continually cough up this thick substance. 

At Dignity Health, our experts are trained to provide a wide range of fast, efficient care for pneumonia in the Bay Area. If you need to go to the ER for pneumonia or related breathing problems, wait at home, not the ER. Use our Online Waiting Room to select your estimated arrival time at one of our Bay Area hospitals.

Common Causes of Pneumonia

Bacterial and viral infections are usually the cause of pneumonia. Other possible causes include:

  • Aspiration of liquid or food into the lungs
  • Exposure to lung irritants such as toxic gases 
  • Yeast and fungal infections

Pneumonia Symptoms

Adults who were healthy before developing pneumonia usually have moderate symptoms. However, the severity of symptoms tends to vary based on your medical history and overall health. People with chronic medical problems may be more likely to develop severe symptoms. 

Symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • A loose, wet cough that produces thick brown, green, yellow, or white phlegm
  • Chest pain, congestion, or tightness
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath 

Fever and fatigue are common symptoms of the flu (influenza). See your doctor to rule out pneumonia if shortness of breath, cough, or chest congestion also develop. 

Seek emergency care at a Dignity Health ER or urgent care clinic for the following symptoms:

  • Bluish color of the lips or fingernails
  • Confusion or lethargy
  • Gurgling sounds in the throat
  • High fever
  • Labored or rapid breathing
  • Moderate to severe shortness of breath
  • Whistling sound or wheezing during breathing

Pneumonia Treatment in the Bay Area

The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and clear the infection. If your pneumonia is severe, you may need to stay in a Dignity Health hospital while you receive treatment. 

Common treatments for pneumonia include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia (antibiotics won’t work for viral pneumonia)
  • Bronchodilators to help ease breathing 
  • Fluids to ease congestion and prevent dehydration 
  • Pain relievers and fever reducers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) 
  • Rest to help your body have more energy to fight the pneumonia
  • Supplemental oxygen therapy

In cases of bacterial pneumonia, your doctor may order a sputum test or blood culture to determine the specific type of bacteria responsible for the infection. This can help determine the most effective type of antibiotic for treatment.


Reach out to a Dignity Health doctor today to find the care you need.

Dignity Health offers personal care for pneumonia in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.