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What Is Pneumonia And Why Can It Be So Deadly?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 95% (36732 ratings)
MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad  •  43 years experience
What Is Pneumonia And Why Can It Be So Deadly?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It leads to inflammation of the lungs which is filled with fluid or pus. It can range from being mild to severe depending on a person’s health and age. Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of germs including bacteria, virus, and fungi. It can become life-threatening and dangerous for people:

  1. Infants and children aged between 2 to 5 years
  2. Older people aged above 65 years
  3. Those who have a weak immune system or have other forms of respiratory problems

Pneumonia can be contracted from different places and can become risky when:

  1. Bacterial pneumonia can easily be contracted from hospital and healthcare which is termed as community-acquired pneumonia. The chances of acquiring pneumonia can increase if are on the ventilator.
  2. Alcohol- Having excessive or regular alcohol can lead to worsening of your pneumonia
  3. If you are exposed to animals like birds, rabbits and rats, then the chances of you contracting pneumonia might be greater.
  4. If you have some medical problems like heart or kidney disease, then your pneumonia can get worse. The situation may be particularly precarious for asthma patients.
  5. Smoking also makes you more susceptible to pneumonia.
  6. Having a weak immunity due to HIV, asplena, poor nutrition and also chemotherapy can lead to worsening of bacterial pneumonia.

Some symptoms of bacterial pneumonia may include:

  1. Coughing that may produce mucus
  2. Fever with shaking and sweating
  3. Chest pain
  4. Nausea and Vomiting
  5. Low body temperature
  6. Shortness of breath

Newborns and infants having pneumonia may not show any symptoms that make it difficult to detect the disease. Also when you have mild symptoms, it is termed as walking pneumonia.

Diagnosis:
If you have pneumonia, then you should consult a doctor who will prescribe a few tests:

  1. Blood test-It is mainly done to identify the germ causing the disease
  2. Chest X-Ray- It helps the doctor locate the exact position of pneumonia.
  3. Pulse Oximetry- It measures the oxygen level in a person’s body.
  4. Sputum Test- Fluid from your lungs is taken and tested to know the cause of infection.
  5. Additional tests may be advised by your doctor that includes CT scan and Pleural fluid culture.

Treatments:
For mild or walking pneumonia, doctors may prescribe certain antibiotics and cough medicines to treat pneumonia. Within a week or two, your lung will start to clear up and you will feel better. Moreover, have enough fluid and sleep and do not smoke.

However, if you fall in the risky category and are experiencing pneumonia symptoms even after having medicines, you should get yourself or your child hospitalized. But there are ways to prevent pneumonia like giving vaccinations to your children and washing your hands. Also, lessen your smoking or stop altogether. So don’t let pneumonia turn into a life-threatening disease by following these simple measures. Consult your doctor immediately if have any of the pneumonia symptoms and fall in the category of – infants and children, people above 65 years of age and people with low immunity. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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