Pneumonia refers to a disease that infects your lungs and it is highly contagious. In Pneumonia, inflammation of air sacs occurs in one or both lungs.
Fluid or pus fills the air sacs which results in fever, cough and causes difficulty in breathing. Through this article, we will learn about pneumonia symptoms in detail. Further, we will also study its treatment, prevention, and types.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia refers to a severe infection of the lungs. Several types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi may cause this disease. Sometimes, it is mild but it can also be fatal at times. This disease mostly affects people who have weak immune systems.
Similarly, it affects people who are older than 65 years, infants, and young children. There can be three major types that are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasmic. It is a severe condition that must be treated properly.
Symptoms of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms can be both, either mild or severe. It will mostly depend on the age, health condition, and the kind of pneumonia the person has. Further, the symptoms will also differ when it comes to the cause of pneumonia.
Bacterial infections will have different symptoms while viral infections will have different ones. We will study some of the common symptoms:
- Dry cough
- Mild or high fever
- Muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Clammy skin
- Increase in pulse rate
- Stabbing pain in chest when coughing
- Increased respiratory rate
What Causes Pneumonia?
An array of pathogens like viruses and bacteria cause this infection. These pathogens start overpowering the immune system and result in this disease. Pneumonia refers to a form of an acute respiratory infection affecting the lungs. According to health records, Pneumonia is the largest infectious disease that threatens our lives.
Types of Pneumonia
There are different types of pneumonia that may affect our bodies. Let’s take a look at the different ones:
Bacterial Pneumonia: Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common bacteria that causes this disease. It happens to someone who has an existing lung disorder. Similarly, it occurs in those who drink in excess which leads to the development of a weak immune system. Further, it also affects old people as their immune system keeps weakening as their age increase.
Viral Pneumonia: This kind happens due to a variety of viruses. It includes the influenza virus as well. Viruses are the cause of more than 1/3rd of the cases.
Mycoplasma Pneumonia: We refer to this kind as atypical pneumonia. It shows different pneumonia symptoms and Mycoplasma pneumoniae causes it. It is responsible for causing mild pneumonia that occurs in all age groups and not a specific one.
Other Pneumonia: They are very rare. The cause of this kind is other infectious agents like fungi.
How to Prevent Pneumonia?
One can take different steps to prevent this condition and pneumonia symptoms from occurring. They include:
Vaccination: There are a few kinds of pneumonia that certain vaccinations can successfully prevent. It is important to get the vaccination status reviewed by your doctor. Do it even if you already have a pneumonia vaccine. Different vaccines are available for children who are under the age of two and between the age of 2-5. It is because they are more at risk.
Proper Hygiene: Make sure you keep washing your hands properly. Similarly, keep using a good sanitizer to prevent yourself from catching any type of pathogenic infection.
Say No to Smoking and Alcohol: When you smoke or consume alcohol, your immune system gets weaker. Ultimately, it will result in being prone to infections. Thus, it is better to avoid it or quit it if you have a habit. It will help in maintaining strong immunity and preventing any kind of infection.
To help the patients get a speedy recovery, doctors prescribe antibiotics to the patients. Further, mild cases can be treated at home as well. However, hospitalization becomes necessary for patients with severe cases.
There is no specific treatment for viral pneumonia. It will cure on its own. The patient must increase their fluid intake to get well soon. Similarly, taking proper nutrition is also important. For breathing problems, oxygen therapy can work wonders. Medicines work for relief from pain and cough.
Pneumonia and Other Health Disorders
Pneumonia can sometimes lead to other health disorders as well. It may further complicate things. The other complications include:
Bacteremia: When a person has bacteria causing pneumonia, it may enter the bloodstream and then pass to the other organs. In very rare cases, it may lead to organ failure.
Difficulty Breathing: It may result in difficulty in breathing. Thus, the need for ventilation may arise.
Pleural Effusion: Fluid can further start developing within thin layers of tissue lining the lungs or pleura. This may require surgical treatment.
How do you catch Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is basically a respiratory infection that happens in the lungs. If it is not treated on time or left untreated, it may result in a serious and life-threatening disease. Moreover, it can happen to anyone at any age.
With that being said, older adults, infants, and those who have impaired immune systems are at greater risk of this disease. The people who do not have strong immune systems are people who have chronic disease, COPD, asthma, and other kinds of underlying conditions.
Weak immune systems do not have the capacity to put a good fight against pathogens. Further, there are other factors that may trigger this disease and it includes specific lifestyle habits of smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, contact with pathogens that causes this disease.
FAQ on Pneumonia
Question 1: How is Pneumonia caused?
Answer 1: A variety of pathogens cause pneumonia-like viruses and bacteria. Moreover, these pathogens start to overpower the immune system and result in pneumonia.
Question 2: Can Pneumonia be fatal?
Answer 2: Usually, it is not fatal. Timely diagnosis and effective treatment can help in a speedy recovery. But, if children and elderly people get virus-infected pneumonia, it may become fatal in case of late and improper treatment measures.
Question 3: Elaborate Pneumonia symptoms.
Answer 3: There are various pneumonia symptoms that one should look out for. It includes difficulty in breathing, extreme fatigue, severe pain in the chest, cough with mucous, discoloration of skin and nails. Further, noisy breathing, fever with chills, and muscle pain are also symptoms.
Question 4: Is Pneumonia contagious?
Answer 4: No, it is not. But, the germs that cause this disease can freely travel from one person to another. Thus, people who are already at high risk must not come in close contact with those who are already suffering from this disease.
Question 5: What is more dangerous, double pneumonia or single pneumonia?
Answer 5: While people often believe that double pneumonia is more dangerous, it is not entirely true. It is because severe single pneumonia can also be quite fatal than chronic double pneumonia.