Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which results in inflammation
of the air sacs either on one or both the lungs.



What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which results in inflammation of the air sacs either on one or both the lungs. If not treated well in time, it can result in serious complications and can even cause death. The causative agents leading to pneumonia could be bacteria, viruses or fungi.

Pneumonia causes inflammation of the lungs and the fluid starts accumulating in the small air sacs of the lungs.

Who all can be affected with Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can affect young and healthy people but it can be extremely dangerous for elderly, infants and people who have a compromised immune system.

What are the symptoms of Pneumonia?

The initial symptoms could be similar to those of a cold or flu. Eventually, the affected person develops high fever, chills, and cough with sputum {coughed-up material (phlegm)}.

Below are some more symptoms associated with pneumonia:

  • Fever
  • Sweating and chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

However, other symptoms may depend on the cause and severity of the infection, as well as the age and general health of the individual.

Symptoms according to cause

Viral pneumonia usually shows flu-like symptoms, such as wheezing. A high fever may occur after 12–36 hours.

Bacterial pneumonia result in high grade fevers like 105°F associated with excessive sweating, bluish lips and nails, and confusion.

Symptoms according to age:

  • Children below 5 years of age may have fast breathing.
  • Infants may vomit, lack energy, or have trouble drinking or eating.
  • Older people may have a lower-than-normal body temperature.

How you can acquire pneumonia?

Viruses, bacteria and fungi can attack anyone at any time; however, one can acquire pneumonia infection in following ways:

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP): This type of bacterial pneumonia is acquired during a hospital stay.

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP): This refers to pneumonia that is acquired outside of a medical or institutional setting.

Is pneumonia transmittable?

Most kinds of pneumonia aretransmittable.

Viral and bacterial pneumonia can spread to others through inhalation of airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. However, fungal pneumonia can spread from the environment and is non communicable from one person to other.

Who all are at risk of pneumonia?

Some people who are at higher risk of pneumonia are:

  • Newborns to age 2 years and elderly above 65
  • People who had a history of stroke who have swallowing and are on bed after discharge from hospital
  • Individuals having compromised immunity or are on medications such as steroids or certain cancer drugs
  • People who have smoking, drinking or drug addiction
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, or heart failure

How can you prevent pneumonia?

  • If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking makes you more susceptible to respiratory infections, especially pneumonia.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes, and dispose of used tissues promptly.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle to strengthen your immune system. Get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise.

What is the treatment of pneumonia?

Antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal drugs are used to treat pneumonia, depending on the specific cause of the condition. However, your doctor is the best judge who after an appropriate diagnosis prescribes the medication. In general, antibiotic therapy, respiratory therapy- which includes delivering specific medications directly into the lungs and oxygen via nasal tube or a face mask is given to patients who are critical after pneumonia.

In general following advice is given to pneumonia patients:

  • Enough rest
  • Pain relieving medicines
  • Medicines which remove fluid from the lungs
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Not overdoing and resuming work after sometime

What is the recovery rate after pneumonia diagnosis?

How soon you recover after pneumonia will depend on the type of pneumonia you have, how severe it is, and your general health.

A younger person may feel back to normal in a week after treatment. Others may take longer to recover and may experience long term fatigue. If your symptoms are severe, your recovery may take several weeks.

Pneumonia is a treatable condition the sooner the diagnosis is the better is the recover if one properly follows the instructions of the doctor. Please consult your doctor immediately if you feel any symptoms similar to pneumonia.

Pneumonia can occur at any season however, be watchful especially during the winter season as viral, bacterial and fungal activity flares during winter months.

Famhealth aims to raise awareness about pneumonia on the pneumonia day and wishes its readers and viewers a happy, healthy and safe life ahead.

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