The Bureau of Clinical Services has prepared this advisory to alert providers to the presentation of symptoms, risk factors, and medical conditions that can be associated with the development of pneumonia.

  • Pneumonia is an infection within the lungs and can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus.
  • Common presenting symptoms of pneumonia are:
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • poor oral intake
    • chest congestion
    • chest pain
    • fatigue
  • Less common symptoms that can be associated with pneumonia are:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • weakness
    • lethargy

Individuals with symptoms of pneumonia should seek prompt medical attention.

Individuals with the following medical conditions are at higher risk of developing

pneumonia:

  • dysphagia (difficult or abnormal swallowing)
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • degenerative neuromuscular conditions
  • asthma
  • chronic lung disease
  • smokers

Please note that dysphagia can lead to aspiration of food and liquid into the lungs which can result in pneumonia. This can often be a silent process. Evaluation for dysphagia or aspiration is done with a swallow evaluation. Individuals who develop pneumonia or have recurrent pneumonia may benefit from an evaluation to determine if dysphagia could be the cause.