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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with pneumonia. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
About Pneumonia
  • Do my symptoms suggest pneumonia?
  • How might I have contracted this infection?
  • Do my symptoms suggest a particular type of pneumonia?
  • Are you at all concerned about the oxygen level in my blood?
  • What symptoms might suggest that I’m developing a more severe case?
  • What symptoms might suggest that I’m developing complications?
  • Is my infection contagious?
About Your Risk of Developing Pneumonia
  • Do I have any other conditions that might increase my risk of pneumonia?
  • How can I decrease my risk of developing pneumonia?
About Treatment Options
  • Is this bacterial pneumonia? Will it respond to antibiotics?
  • Are there any new treatments for viral pneumonia?
  • What is likely to happen without treatment?
  • What medications are available to me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any alternative or complimentary therapies that will help me?
  • Are there any comfort measures you can recommend?
  • Do I need hospitalization?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I should consider to recover more quickly from pneumonia or to prevent another outbreak?
  • Can you help me stop smoking?
  • Do I need to curtail any of my activities?
  • How will I know when I can resume my usual activities?
About Your Outlook
  • How long might this last?
  • Am I likely to develop complications?
  • Is this likely to happen again?
References

Pneumonia symptoms diagnosis and treatment. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/pneumonia/symptoms-diagnosis-and.html. Accessed October 3, 2012.

Pneumonia. National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed October 3, 2012.

Primary Care Medicine. 4th ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2000.

Last reviewed October 2012 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.