What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by virus or bacteria. It is the condition in which the air sacs of the lungs called alveoli become inflamed.
What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?
The symptoms of Pneumonia can develop quickly. Symptoms can vary according to the severity of the disease and the infection. Some of the common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Cough – It can be a dry cough or cough producing mucus.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Chest Pain – when inhaling and exhaling deeply.
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling tired or less energetic
- Increased rate of breathing
- Muscle Pain etc.
How is Pneumonia Diagnosed?
Doctor will diagnose pneumonia based on your symptoms, medical history and laboratory tests.
He will examine you physically and do various examinations like – blood test, x-ray, sputum analysis etc.
In some cases Bronchoscopy, a procedure to view the airways of the lungs, is done to diagnose pneumonia and its severity.
What are the Causes of Pneumonia and Who is at risk?
- Pneumonia is an infection caused by bacteria, virus and sometimes fungi.
- A cold or a flu can trigger pneumonia.
- Pneumonia can be affected in any age. But children in young age and elderly people have higher risk.
- People who have lung disease or a history of any health problems are likely to be affected by pneumonia.
Some other risk factors that affect pneumonia are:
- Viral or Bacterial Infection
- Difficulty in Swallowing
- People who are affected by disease like AIDS or people who have weak immune system.
What are the Types of Pneumonia?
There are different types of pneumonia. The symptoms and the treatment of the disease depend on the type of pneumonia. Some of the common types of pneumonia include:
- Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) – CAP is the most common type of pneumonia caused by viruses or bacteria. ‘Walking pneumonia’ caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a less severe type of pneumonia categorized under Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP).
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) – People can affect HAP during or after hospitalization or stay in hospital. It is caused when the person is exposed to bacteria.
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) – VAP is a pneumonia which may affect people who are on ventilator machine.
What are the Treatment options of Pneumonia?
- Treatment of pneumonia depends on the severity and type of pneumonia.
- Usually, effective antibiotics are given to persons affected by pneumonia to destroy the bacteria.
- Antiviral medicines are given for pneumonia affected by virus.
- Proper rest is recommended.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Medicines are given to reduce the symptoms like cough, fever etc.
- In some cases, the person is provided with oxygen supply if there is any difficulty.
- Follow the instructions of the doctors and have follow ups if required.
How can Pneumonia be Prevented?
- Have proper vaccination.
- Quit smoking.
- Be hygienic. Wash your hand properly after an outing or after meeting a person with infections such as cold, flu etc. Use a tissue or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid malnutrition.
- Have proper food and a healthy diet.
- Stop using alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.