- Pneumonia is a lung infection wherein pus or fluids fills the air sacs causing cough and other symptoms.
- It can affect people of any age but can pose a danger to infants and older people.
- Pneumonia can be a life-threatening illness, so one should be aware of its prevention and treatment.
Pneumonia is among the most common lung diseases in which bacteria, viruses, or fungi cause the air sacs to be filled with fluids or pus, causing severe cough or difficulty in breathing.
It can range from mild to severe cases. Infants, older people, and those with a weak immune system are the ones with a high risk of getting infected.
Pneumonia is a condition that can be life-threatening, so one must be able to know its symptoms, treatments, and prevention.
Read on to know more about pneumonia.
What causes pneumonia?
Bacteria usually cause pneumonia, but viruses and fungi can also cause it. It can infect any groupage, but it can cause danger when infants and older people are affected by it. People with underlying conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, asthma, and COPD, are also at risk for it. Those who have weaker immune systems, like people who have cancer and HIV, are more prone to getting infected.
What are the signs and symptoms of pneumonia?
Symptoms can vary from one person to another, also depending on what caused it.
But the most common signs and symptoms of pneumonia include fever, cough, fatigue, chest pain during coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty coughing.
When you have pneumonia, phlegm or sputum accumulates in your lungs, and your body responds to it by coughing. The phlegm or sputum can range from light yellow to greenish. Your airways may get inflamed, also causing shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
Diagnosing pneumonia includes knowing what the types of pneumonia are.
Pneumonia is categorized into four groups starting with:
- Aspiration pneumonia – is a type of pneumonia that develops when you inhale something into your lungs such as drinks, foods, saliva, or even vomit.
- Community-acquired pneumonia – is picked up where you usually spend most of your time, such as school, malls, or workplace.
- Healthcare acquired pneumonia – is a type of pneumonia you get when you are staying in healthcare facilities or often visit an outpatient clinic.
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia – is often the most severe type wherein you get infected during your hospital confinement.
Some tests are needed to be carried out by the physician to be able to diagnose pneumonia. These include physical assessment of your symptoms, sputum test, blood test, and chest x-ray.
How do physicians treat pneumonia?
How pneumonia will be treated will depend on the cause and seriousness of the symptoms. If it is bacterial, doctors will have to prescribe antibiotics. For other causes, over-the-counter medicines and respiratory treatments can work.
If patients show severe symptoms like shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, they might be required to be hospitalized for supplemental oxygen, and life-threatening cases may need to stay in the intensive care unit.
Can pneumonia be prevented?
Treating pneumonia with antibiotics now poses a problem because of antibiotic resistance. So all the more that we should aim for its prevention.
There is now an available pneumonia vaccine for children and older adults. Aside from vaccination, there are also simple protective measures you can do to prevent getting infected, such as washing hands, distancing from sick people, and keeping a healthy diet to boost your immune system.
Source: Very Well Health