Understanding White Lung Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Following recent health news, you might have heard about a prevalent respiratory illness: white lung pneumonia. While this type of pneumonia is not medical terminology, the term defines the infected areas that appear on a lung X-ray due to pneumonia.

So, what is white lung pneumonia? Let’s understand in this blog.

What is White Lung Pneumonia?

Since August 2023, Ohio has seen a rise in pneumonia cases among children aged three to 14, forcing health officials to declare an outbreak. When publishing this news, many media bodies named this respiratory condition white lung disease.

White lung pneumonia, also known as lobar pneumonia or pneumococcal pneumonia, shows the presence of consolidation of one or two lung lobes. Unlike other types of pneumonia that affect smaller airways or diffuse lung areas, this pneumonia typically involves the entire lobe, leading to more severe symptoms and complications. Various infectious agents and environmental factors cause it. However, Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most predominant cause of pneumonia.

White lung pneumonia is not a medical term; rather, it is used to define the appearance of white patches in the lungs due to pneumonia. This relation between pneumonia and white patches in the lungs leads to the name.

What is Pneumonia?

As white lung pneumonia is synonymous with pneumonia, let’s understand what pneumonia is.
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs that causes air sacs to fill with fluid. A virus or infection usually causes pneumonia, although certain bacteria or fungi can also cause it in rare cases.

Additionally, pneumonia incidence and severity vary according to age, pre-existing health issues, and tobacco use. Often, pneumonia cases are minor and do not require hospitalization or bed rest. These cases are usually known as walking pneumonia.

Furthermore, unlike bacterial and viral pneumonia, fungal pneumonia is not infectious. Coughing, sneezing, or close contact with an infected individual are the most common transmission causes.

A similar lung disease is H3N2 flu. Read about H3N2 Flu, its symptoms, treatments, outlooks and prevention regarding respiratory diseases.

What are the Causes of White Lung Pneumonia?

Various infectious agents and environmental factors can cause white lung pneumonia. Here’s a detail:

Bacterial Infections

Pneumonia is commonly caused by bacterial pathogens, with Streptococcus pneumoniae being the primary cause. Other bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae, can also contribute to the development of this condition.

Viral Infections

Certain viruses, including influenza and respiratory syncytial (RSV), can lead to this pneumonia. Moreover, these viral infections can weaken the immune system and make individuals more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia as a secondary infection.

Fungal Infections

Fungal pneumonia, caused by organisms like Pneumocystis jirovecii and Aspergillus species, can result in this pneumonia, particularly in individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy.

Chemical Exposure

Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins in the environment or workplace can increase the risk of developing this disease. Moreover, inhaling toxic fumes, dust, or pollutants can irritate the lungs and lead individuals to pneumonia. Additionally, industries such as mining, agriculture, and manufacturing pose a higher risk of chemical-related pneumonia due to occupational hazards. Moreover, smoking may also lead to white lung pneumonia due to toxic chemicals. Quitting smoking and switching to vaping might be a viable option.

White Lung Pneumonia Symptoms

The causes differ, but the symptoms of white lung pneumonia also vary depending on the cause. Bacterial infections lead to different symptoms from viral infections, although some symptoms are similar in every type of pneumonia.

So some common symptoms are:

  • Cough, which can produce greenish, yellow, or red mucous.
  • Fever, sweat, and shivering chills
  • Symptoms of shortness of breath include rapid or shallow breathing.
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain that worsens with deep breathing or coughing.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low energy and tiredness.
  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly in young children.
  • Confusion, especially among senior persons.

How is White Lung Pneumonia Diagnosed?

The causes of pneumonia differ, and so do the white lung pneumonia symptoms. Therefore, these varied variations lead to different diagnostic methods. Your physician may undergo:

Physical Examination

Healthcare providers conduct a thorough physical examination, listening for abnormal breath sounds such as crackles or wheezes and assessing vital signs for signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid breathing or low oxygen saturation.

Medical History Review

Reviewing the patient’s medical history helps identify any underlying conditions or risk factors that may lead to pneumonia, such as chronic lung disease, immunocompromised status, or recent respiratory infections.

Diagnostic Tests

  • Chest X-ray: Imaging studies, particularly chest X-rays, are essential for visualizing the lungs and identifying affected areas of pneumonia.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests, including a complete blood count (CBC) and blood cultures, can help detect signs of infection, such as increased white blood cell count and specific pathogens circulating in the bloodstream.
  • Sputum Culture: Additionally, analyzing a sample of sputum collected from the patient’s respiratory tract can help identify the causative organism responsible for the pneumonia and guide antibiotic selection.
  • CT Scan: If the diagnosis is unclear or complications are suspected, your physician may prescribe a chest computed tomography (CT) scan. This scan may provide more detailed images of the lungs and help assess the extent of lung involvement and detect any abscesses or complications.

How is Pneumonia Treated?

Treatment depends on the type of causative agent and the severity of the infection. Here are some treatment options:


Antibiotics are the base of treatment for bacterial pneumonia, and the choice of medication depends on the suspected causative agent. Commonly used antibiotics include penicillin, amoxicillin, and macrolides such as azithromycin or clarithromycin.
However, broad-spectrum or combination therapy may be necessary in severe cases or when the causative organism is resistant to first-line antibiotics.

Antiviral Medications

For cases of viral pneumonia, your physician may prescribe antiviral medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), particularly for influenza-related pneumonia. These medications work by inhibiting viral replication and reducing the severity and duration of symptoms.

Antifungal Medications

In cases of fungal pneumonia, antifungal medications such as fluconazole or voriconazole are utilized to combat the fungal infection and prevent its spread.
Moreover, these drugs target the specific fungal species responsible for the pneumonia and may require prolonged treatment.

Oxygen Therapy

Patients with severe respiratory distress or low oxygen levels may require supplemental oxygen therapy to improve oxygenation and reduce the symptoms. Oxygen therapy can be administered via nasal cannula, face mask, or mechanical ventilation, depending on the patient’s needs.

Supportive Care

In addition to antimicrobial therapy, supportive care measures are essential for managing white lung pneumonia. It may include adequate fluid intake, rest, and pain management to alleviate discomfort and promote recovery.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, white lung pneumonia shows white patches in the lungs. Therefore, the name white lung pneumonia while there is no scientific name for this specific condition. This blog guides you through the whereabouts of pneumonia, its signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.
However, if you suffer from this condition, SaadMD‘s dedicated team is there to diagnose and treat the condition in Dearborn, Royal Oak, and Sterling Heights. Visit us today and eliminate this condition as early as possible. Moreover, you can access our telemedicine services if traveling is a hurdle. Moreover, telemedicine reduces costs and helps you gain health care services at home with feasibility.