Moderate Pneumocystis pneumonia

What You Should Know About Moderate Pneumocystis Pneumonia [PcP]

Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a type of fungal infection that affects the lungs. It is caused by the fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii, which is found in the environment. It is an opportunistic infection, meaning it can occur in people with weakened immune systems. Severe cases of PCP can be life-threatening if it is not properly treated.

The most common symptoms of moderate PCP include:

  • Coughing up blood and/or mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis. Your doctor may order chest X-rays or other tests to confirm the diagnosis. Because PCP is an opportunistic infection, patients who are immunocompromised—such as people with HIV or cancer—are at a higher risk of developing the infection.

Treatment for moderate PCP typically involves a combination of drugs, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) and corticosteroids. Additional medications may also be needed to treat the infection and its symptoms. In severe cases, a special procedure called a bronchoscopy may be done to remove tissue samples for further testing and diagnosis.

In addition to medication, lifestyle changes may also be necessary to aid in recovery. These may include:

  • Staying away from smoke and other air pollutants
  • Getting plenty of rest and sleep
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Doing breathing exercises to help clear secretions from the lungs
  • Avoiding people with contagious illnesses, such as the flu and colds

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms of PCP. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of the infection and reduce the risk of complications.