Pneumonia is a common disease that can have more than 30 different causes and symptoms. It is a highly contagious lung infection characterised by inflammation of air sacs in one or both the lungs. The air sacs get filled with fluid or pus resulting in fever, chills, cough and breathing difficulty.
Let us have a look at the different types of pneumonia, its symptoms, treatment and how is it caused.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a serious infection of lungs caused by various bacteria, viruses and fungi. It can be mild and sometimes even prove fatal. It affects people with weakened immune systems, older people above 65 years of age, infants and young children. Pneumonia can be bacterial, viral or mycoplasmic. It is a serious health issue and requires proper treatment.
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Types of Pneumonia
The most common bacteria causing pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. It occurs in people with an existing lung disorder, and also those who drink excessively because of which they develop a weaker immune system. It also affects old people whose immunity weakens with increasing age.
It is caused by various viruses such as the influenza virus. More than 1/3rd of the pneumonia cases are caused by viruses.
This is known as atypical pneumonia and shows different symptoms. It is caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and causes mild pneumonia that affects all age groups.
These are less common and can be caused by other infectious agents such as fungi.
How is Pneumonia Caused?
Pneumonia is caused by a variety of pathogens such as virus and bacteria. When these pathogens overpower our immune system, they cause pneumonia.
The common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Coughing with greenish, yellow and sometimes blood in the mucus.
- Shortness of breath
- Fever with chills.
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain
Antibiotics should be given to the patients for a speedy recovery. Pneumonia can be treated at home, but in severe cases, the patient needs to be hospitalized. Viral pneumonia has no specific treatment. It gets cured on its own.
The patient needs to increase the fluid intake, take proper nutrition, take oxygen therapy for breathing problems and medicines for pain and cough-relief.
Pneumonia can be prevented by the following steps:
A few types of pneumonia can be prevented by certain vaccinations. The vaccination status should be reviewed by the doctor even if you have already received a pneumonia vaccine. There are different vaccine for children below 2 years of age and between 2-5 years of age who are more at risk.
Practice Proper Hygiene
Wash your hands properly or use a proper sanitizer to prevent yourself from any pathogenic infections.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and alcohol consumption weakens the immune system and makes it prone to infections. Quit these habits to maintain strong immunity and prevent yourself from any infections.
Key Points about Pneumonia
- Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.
- It can be diagnosed through physical examinations, blood tests and tests for sputum.
- It ranges from mild to fatal.
- Pneumonia can be characterised by fever, chills, shortness of breath and chest pain.
- It can be treated by certain antibiotics.
Also Read: Respiratory System Disorders
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