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Last Updated: May 21, 2020
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Pneumonia - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

About Types Symptoms Causes Risks Diagnosis Treatment Complications Prevention Home remedies

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an inflammation or infection of the lungs. If the infection affects one section of the lungs, it is known as lobar pneumonia and if it affects sections in both the lungs, then it is known as multilobar pneumonia.

When a person has pneumonia, the air sack inside your lungs slowly gets filled up with pus and other liquids, thus reducing the pathway of oxygen. People with suppressed immune systems, heart and lung disease or suffering from alcoholism, kidney failure, HIV, diabetes are at higher risk. Children who are below 2 years of age are also at risk.

What are the types of pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be of different types such as bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, fungal pneumonia, hospital-acquired pneumonia and community-based pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumonia is the most common bacterium that causes inflammation of the lungs. Other bacterias are Chlamydophila pneumonia and Legionella pneumophila.

Some flu causing viruses such as influenza type A & B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are often responsible for viral pneumonia in young children and elderly people. Fungal pneumonia occurs due to contact with fungi (Coccidioides) present in soil or bird dropping inhalation. Patients having a tracheostomy tube in the airway may be at higher risk of pneumonia-causing bacteria and it is called hospital-based pneumonia.

What are the early symptoms of pneumonia?

Common signs and symptoms of pneumonia are cough along with mucus or blood, rise of body temperature to or above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, excessive sweating and chills, difficulty in breathing, nausea & vomiting, pain in the chest region, wheezing, difficulty in drinking or eating, lack of energy and confusion. Sometimes the signs of pneumonia are misunderstood with cold or flu. So, If these symptoms last for more than 3 days, medical attention should be taken.

What causes Pneumonia ?

Pneumonia can occur for a number of reasons. Unlike other most common diseases, which have a definite cause (strep throat is caused by streptococcus bacteria, flu is caused by influenza virus), these diseases are caused due to multiple factors like bacteria, fungus, viruses, mycoplasmas or even chemicals.

Generally, those who are infected with a flu virus and any other respiratory ailments get infected with this disease. In some cases, pneumonia germs get passed from one person to another, since the disease spreads through the air. Simple protective measures like washing your hands, getting your flu vaccine at the right time, avoiding people who are seriously ill should be exercised to prevent pneumonia.

Who are at risk of pneumonia?

Patients suffering from chronic disease (Asthma, heart disease, bronchiectasis) and have a low immune system (due to HIV or AIDS) are at higher risk. Smoking, consumption of excessive drug or alcohol, poor oral hygiene, exposure to animals, chemical or environmental toxins and malnutrition are other factors.

How to diagnosis pneumonia?

Although, the flu vaccine doesn’t completely prevent pneumonia (as it’s only protection against influenza virus), however, it provides some protection from this disease.

The pneumonia vaccine for children is PCV13. This is a recommended vaccine for all children who are under the age of two. This vaccine protects children from 13 pneumococcal bacteria. There is another vaccine PPSV23 available for children (beyond 2 years) and adults.

What is the treatment for pneumonia?

Doctors usually prescribe over-the-counter medications to treat symptoms of pneumonia. These medicines act as fever reducers or pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and cough medicines. If the symptoms are more severe, then the doctor may prefer antibiotics such as antiviral agents or antibacterial drugs to treat it.

The treatment is generally decided on basis of age, overall health, medical history and severity of pneumonia. Patients are advised to take complete rest along with drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated so that the immunity can be boosted. In some cases, hospitalization is also required for early and fast recovery from pneumonia through the administration of intravenous antibiotics and fluids.

What are the complications of pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be treated and cured completely, however, in some people with weakened immunity or the presence of chronic disease, it results in long-term problems.

One out of 15 children under the age of 5 years dies because the pneumococcal infection spreads to the brain and leads to invasive meningitis disease. If the infection of pneumococcal enters into the bloodstream, it also causes death, the condition known as bacteremia.

Furthermore, the expansion of infection in the lungs such as space between membranes and airway passages, or in the sac surrounding heart causes complexities. Other complications occurring due to pneumonia are lung abscesses, impaired breathing, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pleural effusion and death.

What are ways to prevent pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be prevented through vaccination in the early stages of life. Vaccines named Prevnar (PVC13 for infants) and Pneumovax (PPSV23 for children and adults) are generally used to fight against pneumonia occurring due to bacteria S. pneumoniae.

Other measures for preventing pneumonia include restricting or limiting smoking, maintaining a hygienic atmosphere by regular washing hands, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, following a healthy diet, avoiding contact with sputum or cough particle of the infected person, having enough rest and physical activities.

What are the home remedies for pneumonia?

If a person experience symptoms of pneumonia, then some home remedies can be used to care and control the condition. A proper diet with adequate rest at home can help in managing this condition.

Use of peppermint, eucalyptus and fenugreek tea and saltwater gargle are helpful in cough while drinking a cup of tea or coffee and inhaling warm and damp air can ease in shortness of breath. Over-the-counter medication for pain and fever can be used as well as ginger or turmeric tea acts as powerful anti-inflammatory agent for chest pain.

Popular Questions & Answers

What are the symptoms of pneumonia. I am having dry cough, mild fever 99f, shortness of breath sometimes. Also if I press certain areas of chest I feel pain. Is it pneumonia?

M.D. Consultant Pathologist, CCEBDM Diabetes, PGDS Sexology USA, CCMTD Thyroid, ACDMC Heart Disease, CCMH Hypertension, ECG, CCCS ( CARDIOLOGY & STROKE)
Sexologist, Sri Ganganagar
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include: cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus. Fever, sweating and shaking chills. Shortness of breath. Rapid, shallow breathing. Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when y...

I am 20 years old and I recently had pneumonitis on right side and just discharged 2 and half months ago and I am doing my routine works but I want to know whether I am join a gym and do workouts.

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
The symptoms usually clear up in a day or two if there is no more exposure to the reaction-causing material. Complete recovery, however, may take weeks or longer. If still in doubt, you may discuss it further over a call for immediate consultation...

Hi my father age is 78 years old suffering from pneumonia with crt is 27 he is on antibiotics and he is suffering from motions throughout the day is this normal.

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
When you are caring for a senior with pneumonia, you can expect a recovery time as long as six to eight weeks. This increased recovery time is due to the weakened state of the elderly with the illness and their body's inability to fight off the ba...

My mother died on 01 nov 2019 from cardiac arrest in icu of hospital, before that pneumonia symptoms observed in ct scan and uncontrolled diabetic mellitus as doctors told, they correct or not I am confused.

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
Diabetic mellitus is a multisystem disorder with pathophysiologic changes occurring in almost all the major systems and organs of the human body, hence identification is difficult. More detailed consultation can be provided post discussing your mo...

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Content Details
Written By
MD - Pulmonary,MD PULMONARY,DTCD
Pulmonology
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Aspiration Pneumonia
Namaskar! Me Dr. Vikas Mittal, pulmonologist, Manipal Hospital. Aaj me aspiration pneumonia ke bare me baat krunga. Ek example ko leke baat krenge. April 2018 me ek patient bed pe hi tha pneumonia ki vjha se. Girne se unke left thigh me fracture h...
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