Medical History for Pneumonia

Topic Overview

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and how many days you have had them. If he or she thinks you may have pneumonia, your doctor will want to know whether you have:

  • A cough that brings up mucus (productive cough). Your doctor may ask you to cough up a sample of the mucus for testing. If your pneumonia is not caused by bacteria or a virus, your coughing may not bring up mucus (a nonproductive or dry cough).
  • Any conditions or take any medicines that may weaken your body's natural defense system (impaired immune system).
  • Any signs of complications of pneumonia, such as severe, stabbing chest wall pain, sudden change in breathing with severe shortness of breath, joint pain, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, or increase in fever.
  • Another medical condition, such as diabetes, kidney failure, chronic liver disease, or heart failure.
  • A lung (pulmonary) disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.
  • Had a change in mental status (such as confusion, loss of consciousness, or seizure) that may have allowed you to breathe mucus or other material into your lungs (aspiration pneumonia).

Your doctor may also ask whether you have:

  • A history of upper respiratory tract infections, such as a cold.
  • Been in contact with other people with lung infections or other types of infections.
  • Had a recent injury to the rib area such as a bruise or broken rib (fracture).
  • Traveled recently (especially outside of the United States).
  • Ever used or currently use alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Ever smoked or currently smoke cigarettes.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Last Revised March 6, 2013

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