What you should know about pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infirmity that causes inflammation in the air sacs or alveoli of one or the other lung. A fluid gets filled in the air sacs which can in turn cause difficulty in breathing and an over-generation of mucus and sputum. It is more likely to happen to young children and old people, ranging from mild to severe threat to life.

What are its symptoms?

The primary symptoms of pneumonia usually reflect those of a cold or flu. The person then faces high fever, chills, and cough with sputum (mucus).

The most basic symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Cough
  • Rusty or green sputum coughed up from lungs
  • High fever
  • Most of the time a person is short of breath
  • Shaking chills at night
  • Pain in the chest that usually pops up when you take a deep breath also known as pleuritic pain
  • Heartbeat with high pace
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating during the whole day
  • Headache
  • Pain in muscles

These symptoms vary as per the degree of infirmity caused by pneumonia and as per the body composition and structure.

What are the causes of pneumonia?

Bacteria and viruses are the main living organisms which are the factors behind the reasons for which people suffer from pneumonia. These germs can attack the alveoli and multiply themselves after a person breathes them in.

Pneumonia spreads through contact and is air-borne too. The bacteria and viruses causing it are usually inhaled while breathing in.

They are usually spread through coughing and sneezing in public or through a touch of shared objects.

The body awakes white blood cells to combat the infection as soon as it encounters it. For the same reason, the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed to fight such germs. These bacteria and viruses fill the sacs with fluid (sputum, mucus, and pus), causing pneumonia.

What risks can it lead to?

The above-mentioned bacteria are more prone to cause pneumonia in infants and elder citizens. Though it can attack at any stage yet, it mostly affects the mentioned age groups. This is because such age groups have more of a re-building stage which requires the white as well as red blood cells. Hence, the white blood cells are unable to fight the germs causing pneumonia.

How can it be diagnosed?

A doctor may mention the noticeable symptoms and thus, will go for a physical examination.

An X-ray can depict if there is any damage to the lungs caused by the germs.

Chest X-rays are a firm source to detect pneumonia and detect the areas of the lungs which are affected.

A CT scan of the chest and the affected area may provide detailed information about the disease.

Blood tests also help to measure the white blood cell count and their capability.

These methods help in determining how severe the infection is, and whether a bacteria, virus, or fungus is likely to cause the disease.

How is it treated?

People who have common pneumonia can be treated domestically with medication. Most of its symptoms vanish in a few days or weeks; fatigue can resist movements even for a month or more.

Such treatments differ based on the severity of pneumonia, age groups and overall health (mental as well as physical).

Some of these treatments can be:

  • Antibiotics. These are used to fight with bacteria causing pneumonia. Antibiotics relieve the body from inflammation and the venomous effects of bacteria. For example, Cipro has been a great contributor as an antibiotic.
  • Cough medicine. It may be used to calm cough for adequate rest. This medicine is a relief from continuous cough and the blood-stained sputum.
  • Fever reducers/pain relievers. An individual can get relieved of high fever and body pain due to inflammation. Pills such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) are a great source of relief and cause a reduction in high body temperature.

Conclusion:

Pneumonia has been marked as one of the dreadful diseases over a few years. Diagnosing pneumonia has gained pace over the years, and the treatments are easily accessible to the general public. Even though the disease is communicable, it moves on a slow track while spreading. Still, it can be prevented using hygienically sustained measures.

Featured image source: Freepik

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Published by Nishitha

I am done with my Physiotherapy Graduation. And I always try to share Health and technology tips with people. Apart from Physiotherapy and being a tech savvy, I do explore more on Technology side and I keep sharing my findings with wider audience.

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