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What causes fatigue after pneumonia treatment?

Answered by
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Dr. Ramesh M.Vachharajani

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1969

Answered : 17664 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 3 May 2014 in Infections
Question: About 1 month ago I got pneumonia with a small pleural effusion following the flu. I was admitted to the hospital and put on IV with antiobiotics for 6 days. I felt better almost immediately. I was given more x-rays and a cat scan as well as sputum test for tb etc. All negative. I went home and continued the antibiotics. 2 weeks later, My X-ray was clear. I felt much better. Though I later started to get fatigue. I pushed myself and have felt off and on heavily fatigued for a week or so ( I have a full time job and I am a graduate student). My doctor took another x-ray...again, all clear. Most of my symptoms are gone, but I do sometimes cough a little in the morning. I had a little sputum but it seems to have mostly stopped or is white in nature. This by itself doesn't bother me. The doctor- to be safe- ordered more sputum tests. They appear to be negative as well. (I live in Korea now, which has a somewhat higher TB rate than my home country USA) My main concern is the fatigue. I don't know what is typical or not and have heard conflicting things. Is it normal after 3 weeks? Is it normal to have active tb with clear chest x-ray , no abnormal ct scan, and negative sputum tests? Or is this just a case of post-infection fatigue?
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Answered by Dr. Ramesh M.Vachharajani 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Fatigue is due to long conveloscence and protein Detailed Answer: Hi, I read your query in detail and studied well. As all reports of x-rays, sputum and CT scan are normal which indicates that chances of pulmonary tuberculosis is exceedingly low. And fatigue is most likely due to long post infection and convalescence stage. During pneumonitis with pleural effusion and due to productive cough there is loss of plenty of protein from the body giving rise fatigue and weakness. Further pneumonitis itself takes about one month to get fully cured. I would start you on high protein diet with moderate fat and carbohydrates to recover from your illness and fatigue. You may also want to take some multivitamin supplements to boost up your body. Go for deep breathing exercises to maintain elasticity of lung tissues. I hope, I answered your query. If you have further query or clarification, please write back. Wish you speedy recovery. Ok and take care. Dr. Ramesh Vachharajani. Gujarat, India.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Ramesh M.Vachharajani 2 days later
Thank you for your thorough recovery doctor. It is good to know that fatigue is a common symptom even one month after my release from the hospital. I really want to do anything in my power to avoid getting pneumonia in the future. (It's my first time ever). Is pneumonia just a matter of "bad luck" or is there something I can do to avoid it? Would you recommend a follow up CT scan for my lungs? I had one CT scan at the beginning of my treatment which did not find any abnormalities, but would you recommend it be followed up?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ramesh M.Vachharajani 5 hours later
Brief Answer: Avoid dusty,humid, polluted atmosphere. Detailed Answer: Hi, I would not purely call pneumonia as bad luck. It is caused by the organism P.pneumoniae which spreads via air borne droplets. So avoid coming in contact with pneumonia patient or patient who is having lower respiratory tract infection. Avoid dusty, polluted and dumpy atmosphere. Do deep breathing exercise daily. And never ignore respiratory symptoms that lasts for more than 3-4 days, it may risk you to develop pneumonia in future. In your case as there is h/o pleural effusion, you may go for repeat x-ray to know about clearing of pleural effusion. I hope I answered your clarification. Now if you do not have any further clarification, rate the answer and you can close the discussion. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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