If you develop a hacking cough, fever, muscle pain, fatigue, and a headache, you may have either viral or bacterial pneumonia. However, before you can be effectively treated, your doctor will need to determine which type you have. If you are unable to see your doctor right away, visit a walk-in clinic so that you can get diagnosed and treated. Here are some diagnostic tests that the walk-in medical clinic staff may perform that can help diagnose pneumonia.
The first test that the clinic physician may recommend is a chest x-ray. This diagnostic imaging test can reveal lung infiltrates, the presence of fluid, shadows, and abnormal growths in your pulmonary structures. If you have fluid in your lungs, it may mean that you have pneumonia.
To confirm the diagnosis, the physician will listen to your lung fields by placing a stethoscope over certain areas of your chest and back. The doctor will listen for evidence of crackles, rales, rhonchi, or wheezing. If one or more of these lung sounds are heard, it may further confirm the diagnosis of pneumonia. While listening to your lungs, the doctor will ask you to inhale and exhale. If your breath sounds are absent, it may mean that your lungs are severely congested with mucus or fluid.
Another test that may help the walk-in clinic physician rule out pneumonia is a CBC, or complete blood count. If your CBC reveals an elevated white blood cell count, it may mean that you have an infection such as pneumonia.
Your red blood cell and platelet counts may also be abnormal if bacterial and viral infections are present. Certain infections, including pneumonia, can cause thrombocytopenia, which refers to a low platelet count.
This condition can cause abnormal bruising and heavy bleeding. After the infection has been effectively treated, thrombocytopenia will typically resolve; however, it may take a few months. If the clinic physician determines that you have bacterial pneumonia based upon your physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests, he or she will prescribe antibiotics.
If you develop any of the above symptoms, visit your physician or a walk-in medical clinic. The sooner pneumonia is diagnosed and treated, the less likely you will be to experience severe breathing problems and airway obstruction. If pneumonia is not diagnosed quickly, you may require hospitalization so that you can be closely monitored and treated with intravenous antibiotics, oxygen therapy, and nebulizer treatments.