Pneumonia – Knowing What It Is and How It is Managed

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During the wet seasons, the instances of developing conditions like pneumonia often increase. While the condition is avoidable, there are still those who develop them. Thus, it is important to take time in knowing this health condition and how it can be effectively managed.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. This can be caused by viruses, bacteria and even fungi. This condition causes inflammation in the air sacs or alveoli of the lungs. During an infection process, the alveoli fill up with fluid or pus, making it rather difficult for the person to breathe.

The symptoms of this condition can range from mild to moderate to severe and life threatening. The severity of the condition typically depends on several factors like the cause of the inflammation, age, general health and the type of organism that is causing the infection.

What Are the Different Types of Pneumonia?

There are three major type of pneumonia. Each type has different causes and requires unique treatment and care. One of the most common types of pneumonia is the bacterial pneumonia. This type of pneumonia can affect just about anyone at any age. Moreover, bacterial pneumonia can develop on its own or after a severe flu. The bacteria that may cause this condition include Streptococcus pneumonia, Legionella pneumophila, or Chlamydophila pneumonia.

Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, is caused by respiratory viruses. This condition is common in young children as well as the elderly. While pneumonia is usually not fatal and will last only for a short period of time, it can become severe with flu virus.

Another type of pneumonia is the mycoplasma pneumonia. This condition is not caused by viruses or bacteria but have similar characteristics to the first two types of pneumonia. Mycoplasma organisms cause mild cases of pneumonia, affecting both older children and young adults.

Am I At Risk for Developing Pneumonia?

No one is immune to this condition. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing this health condition. For instance, people who have had stroke or those who are bedridden can develop pneumonia. In addition, people with swallowing problems are also at risk for developing the condition.

Newborn infants and toddlers are at risk for pneumonia. Likewise, the older adults are also at risk for developing the condition. Those who have weak immune systems are also susceptible to developing pneumonia. Even those who take medications that weaken the immune system can also develop the condition.

How Would I Know If I Have Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can affect anyone. Thus, it is important to know the symptoms so you will know when to seek medical consult right away. The common symptoms of bacterial pneumonia may include shaking chills, dry cough, fever, chest pain, wheezing, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can quickly develop.

There are also symptoms that warrant immediate medical consult. For instance, if you develop skin with bluish tone or blood in your sputum, you should seek medical help right away. Moreover, if you develop labored breathing, high grade fever and confusion, you should seek emergency medical treatment right away.

How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed?

This condition can easily be overlooked as this often resembles flu or a simple cold. However, this condition lasts longer compared to a regular cough and colds. Moreover, the symptoms can become severe.

In diagnosing pneumonia, there are certain things that your health care provider may require from you. For instance, your doctor will conduct a detailed patient history and physical assessment. This assessment will help determine whether or you have the condition. A physical exam is conducted to check if you are currently experiencing the symptoms of pneumonia. Your doctor will check for bubbling or crackling sounds in your chest when you inhale. Moreover, you will also be checked for wheezing or trouble breathing.

Chest x-ray may also be required to determine if there are infections present in the lungs. However, this diagnostic test will not show the type of pneumonia that you have. To get a better picture of the type, a blood test is performed. Sputum tests and a CT scan may also be required.

How Is Pneumonia Treated?

The treatment for this health condition will depend on several factors like the type of pneumonia, severity of the condition, age and the overall health of the infected individual. For mild to moderate cases of pneumonia, the condition may be treated at home with the supervision of a health care provider. Medications are often prescribed and home remedies are provided. Severe cases of pneumonia, on the other hand, must be treated in a hospital.

The typical treatment plan for this condition will include taking all the prescribed medications. Follow up care is also necessary. If the condition worsens, immediate medical consult must be sought to check whether or not the pneumonia has worsened. However, if the condition responds to the prescribed treatment, follow up consult is still necessary to confirm the treatment of the condition. A chest x-ray may be ordered at the end of the treatment plan, as this can help determine the successful treatment of the condition.

Bacterial pneumonia is treated using antibiotics. Antibiotic medications should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. You should not abruptly stop taking the medications before the treatment plan is complete, as this can cause the pneumonia to return. Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, will respond to antiviral drugs. For this type of pneumonia, the treatment plan usually lasts for one to three weeks.

Prevention of Pneumonia

Yes, like other health conditions, pneumonia can be prevented. Vaccinations are often indicated for the prevention of this health condition. Vaccines for bacterial pneumonia and flu are typically prescribed especially in children and older adults, as they are the ones who are more susceptible to developing the condition. Healthy lifestyle modifications can also help prevent pneumonia. Quitting smoking and alcohol abuse should help improve a person’s immune system, allowing him or her to efficiently fight off infections and prevent the development of health conditions like pneumonia.

References:

http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/symptoms-causes-and-risk.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.ph/

http://www.webmd.com/lung/tc/pneumonia-topic-overview

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumonia/home/ovc-20204676

http://www.medicinenet.com/pneumonia_facts/article.htm

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