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BATON ROUGE, LA (WVLA/WGMB) – Fever, cough, chest pains, shortness of breath are just some of its symptoms, and in worst case scenarios, it could be deadly.

“A number of famous people have actually died from pneumonia, but in addition to that, it is actually the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. While most of the time, we think of adults being the ones who get pneumonia, children do as well. Worldwide, it accounts for about 18% of childhood deaths is from pneumonia,” said Dr. Mike Rolfsen, an internist at the Baton Rouge Clinic. “Technically, it’s actually an inflammation of the lungs. Although, most commonly when we say it’s pneumonia, we’re referring to an infection of the lungs, and that infection can be either from a virus or bacteria or fungus.”

Who is more likely to get it?

“The very old and very young are more susceptible, particularly adults over age 65. For some reason, not sure why, men are more prone than women, and blacks are more common than whites,” explained Dr. Rolfsen. “Most often, the doctor will do an X-Ray, and if they diagnose pneumonia, along with the appropriate clinical symptoms, fever and things like that, it will be treated with an antibiotic, and sometimes anti-virals, but there are medications to treat pneumonia.”

How do you know if it’s gone completely?

“A lot of patients will want to come back and complete a chest X-ray, and that’s not always necessary. Men who smoke, it’s probably important to recheck and make sure there’s nothing under the pneumonia. If we do repeat a chest X-ray, frequently the changes that we see in X-rays lag behind by about two to three months. So it’s not necessary to repeat the X-ray immediately after treatment,” concluded Dr. Rolfsen.

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