How is pneumonia diagnosed?

A blood test will look for signs of infection and a chest x-ray will help confirm the diagnosis of pneumonia. The doctor may also ask the person to cough some mucus into a pot. The mucus can then be analyzed to see which type of germ is causing the pneumonia. These tests help the doctor decide on the best treatment.

It can be difficult to diagnose pneumonia, with its cold- and flu-like symptoms. To decide if you have pneumonia, your doctor will use a stethoscope to monitor your lung activity. If your doctor suspects pneumonia he may order blood tests and a sputum (spit) test. In addition, your doctor may check the level of oxygen in your blood using a pulse oximeter, a device that painlessly clips to your finger. An x-ray of the lungs may be taken to confirm the diagnosis. A bronchoscope may also inserted in the lung; this uses a camera to see the state of the lungs from the inside. Additional tests may be needed to determine how severe the pneumonia is and what is causing it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.