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Care and Treatment for Pneumonia

Why Choose Treatment for Pneumonia at University of Colorado Hospital?

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The Infectious Disease Group Practice at University of Colorado Hospital is nationally recognized. Our doctors are board-certified and conduct groundbreaking research.

Our multidisciplinary care team has long experience in diagnosing and managing a wide range of infectious diseases, and we offer patients access to the latest treatments.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs, most commonly caused by bacteria.

Millions of people in the United States get pneumonia each year. Some people get very sick with pneumonia, while others only get mildly sick. The elderly and those with other health conditions are more likely to get very sick.

Pneumonia symptoms can include:

  • Cough, with green or yellow mucus; coughing up blood happens occasionally
  • Fever
  • Severe chills
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Clammy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Confusion (more common in older adults)

Tests & Treatments

Tests for Pneumonia


Chest X-ray – an X-ray of the chest area


Sputum culture – you are asked to cough deeply. The sputum you produce is tested to determine which organism is causing the pneumonia.


Blood tests – blood is drawn, and then the number of white blood cells and amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide is measured.


Computed tomography (CT scan) – a picture is taken of your chest area.


Pleural fluid culture – A needle is used to obtain a small amount of fluid from the chesty cavity. The fluid is then tested for infection-causing organisms.


Treatments for Pneumonia


Antibiotics – if bacteria are the cause, then antibiotics are used to treat the pneumonia.


Antiviral medications – if the pneumonia is viral, then antiviral medications might be used to treat it.


Hospitalization – in severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. While in the hospital, you might receive:

  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Oxygen therapy to increase oxygen levels
  • Respiratory treatments to remove secretions

Your Medical Team

The Infectious Disease Group Practice at University of Colorado has a multidisciplinary team of health care providers. Each specialist is trained to provide different aspects of infectious disease care. Your medical team will be assembled with the specialists best suited to treat your condition.


Infectious Disease Specialists at University of Colorado Hospital


Infectious disease specialists – board-certified doctors who are specially trained in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases.


Nurse practitioner (NP) – a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree. NPs are licensed to see patients for assessment, treatment and follow-up.


Registered nurse – graduated from a formal nursing education program and is licensed by the state of Colorado.


Pharmacists – have a doctorate degree in the science of medication.


Nutritionists – health professionals with special training in nutrition. They help patients determine the best dietary choices for better health.


Endocrinologist – a board-certified medical doctor who is specially trained to diagnose diseases that affect the glands.


Obstetricians/gynecologists – an obstetrician is a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in delivering babies. A gynecologist is a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the female reproductive system.


Oncologist – a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer.


Psychiatrist – a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental disorders.


Psychiatric nurses – have special training in caring for patients with mental disorders.


Other Infectious Disease Staff


Social workers – help individuals ensure their personal well being and provide the resources for people to get the help they need, by assessing all aspects of their life and culture.