Pneumonia 101; Symptoms, Causes And Treatment.

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Pneumonia is an infectious disease of the lungs. This causes the inflammation of tiny air sacs in the lungs. These air sacs called alveoli become filled with mucus and pus. This is marked by difficulty in breathing along with a cough. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can range in severity, from mild to life-threatening. This can be most dangerous in babies, young children, older people, and those with compromised immunity. But there are several pneumonia treatment options available.

Read more about pneumonia. 

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia can vary from patient to patient depending upon overall health status, age, and type of infection. These can range from mild to severe in intensity.

  • Pain in the chest upon breathing and coughing
  • Changes in levels of awareness particularly in those older than 65 years
  • Cough
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • In the elderly, you might notice a lower than normal body temperature
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Pneumonia Symptoms in Infants

Pneumonia may be asymptomatic in infants. If it shows symptoms, they may vomit repeatedly. Show no interest in eating and have a generalized low energy level. They may seem lethargic, restless, with fever and cough. If you fear that your child might have pneumonia it is best to consult a child specialist.

What Causes Pneumonia?

Different infectious organisms can cause pneumonia. These include.

Bacteria:

The most common bacteria causing pneumonia is streptococcus pneumonia. It can be after you catch a cold or flu. This often affects one lobe of the lung and is termed as lobular pneumonia. Other bacteria that can cause pneumonia include:

  • Mycoplasma pneumonia
  • Hemophilus influenza
  • Legionella pneumophila

Pneumonia because of Mycoplasma pneumonia is also called walking pneumonia as it rarely necessitates bed rest for recovery.

Fungus:

Pneumonia due to fungi is common in people with weak immunity or those having chronic health issues. Bird droppings and soil contain the fungus that causes this.

Virus:

Viruses responsible for flu and influenza are a common cause of pneumonia in children. This type usually subsides on its own after 2-3 weeks. In some cases, it can become serious and may need hospitalization.

What are the 4 stages of pneumonia?

Pneumonia has four sages which include:

  • Consolidation
  • Red hepatization
  • Grey hepatization
  • Resolution

Types of Pneumonia

We classify pneumonia into various types according to the type of causative agent and from where you acquired the infection.

1. Hospital-acquired pneumonia

Pneumonia acquired after admission to a hospital is termed hospital-acquired pneumonia. The causative agent is often gram-negative bacteria or Klebsiella. This is a dangerous form of pneumonia as the bacteria causing it might be resistant to antibiotics.

2. Community-acquired pneumonia

This is the most commonly diagnosed form of pneumonia. As the name suggests it is acquired from surroundings or at home and not due to hospitalization or from other healthcare facilities. The bacterium responsible for this type is Streptococcus Pneumonia.

3. Ventilator acquired pneumonia

People on a ventilator can acquire pneumonia after two days of being incubated. This makes consequences even life-threatening for patients on mechanical ventilation, are already critically sick.

4. Aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when you inhale food, liquid, vomit, saliva, or other particles into your lungs. Injuries of the brain, abnormal gag reflex, swallowing problems or sedatives, and alcohol can make aspiration pneumonia more likely.

5. Healthcare acquired pneumonia

People living in old homes or those staying at healthcare facilities for a longer duration may gain this form of pneumonia. Like hospital-acquired pneumonia causative agents for this form can also be antibiotic-resistant making it a serious condition.

Can Pneumonia Be Transmitted?

Organisms responsible for pneumonia can spread from affected persons to others via airborne droplets after coughing or sneezing or by contact with the patient. Pneumonia because of fungi can spread from contaminated surfaces as well. Wearing a mask and proper sanitization after attending such patents is recommended to avoid contracting infection.

Pneumonia once developed in a person can spread from one lobe of the lung to others and can also affect another lung.

Treatment Of Pneumonia

Treatment of pneumonia aims at treating infection and preventing associated complications. Adults with community-acquired pneumonia are usually advised to complete a course of antibiotics at home whereas infants or elderly in severe conditions may need continuous supervision.

You can also prevent pneumonia. 

A treatment plan often varies as per age, type of pneumonia, and general health of the patient. Options include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antipyretics
  • Pain relief medications
  • Cough remedies

How long does it take to recover from pneumonia in adults?

Walking pneumonia may take as much as 6 weeks for a full recovery. Bacterial pneumonia improves after you start taking antibiotics whereas pneumonia due to viruses takes up to 3 days until improvements start. Prompt medical attention is necessary for both adults and children to prevent complications and life-threatening situations resulting from pneumonia.

Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top pulmonologists in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.

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Hiba Batool

Hiba Batool

She is a nutrition graduate from Kinnaird College, Lahore. She is a nutritionist by profession. Her interests lie in medical research and writing. She masters in all topics related to nutrition and health.

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