Pneumonia: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Pneumonia is a common disease in children and the elderly. The disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria.

Pneumonia is a common disease in children and the elderly. The disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria. So many families with people who are ill are very concerned about whether or not pneumonia is contagious and how to prevent it.

Learn about pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the air sac in one or both lungs. The air sacs can be filled with fluid or pus, causing a cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.

Pneumonia can be mild to severe, life-threatening. The disease is most dangerous for infants and young children, the elderly over 65 and people with health problems or a weak immune system. Can pneumonia be spread? The answer is "Yes", especially pneumonia in children.

Symptoms of pneumonia

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ that causes the infection, the age and overall health of the patient. Mild signs and symptoms are usually similar to a cold or flu, but they will last longer than usual.

Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:

  • Chest pain when breathing or coughing
  • Confusion or mental change (in adults age 65 and older)
  • Cough, cough with phlegm
  • Tired
  • Fever, sweating and shivering
  • Lower body temperature than usual (in adults older than 65 and people with weak immune systems)
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

Babies and infants may not show any signs of infection. Or they may be vomiting, fever and coughing, restless or tired and have no energy, or have trouble breathing and have trouble eating.

When to see a doctor?

See a doctor if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, fever lasts 102 degrees F (39 degrees C) or higher, persistent cough, especially if you cough up pus.

It is especially important that people in the following high-risk groups see a doctor:

  • Adults over 65 years old
  • Children younger than 2 years of age with the above signs and symptoms
  • People with underlying health who suffer from many diseases or a weakened immune system
  • People who receive chemotherapy or drugs that suppress the immune system

For some older people and people with heart failure or chronic lung problems, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.

Picture 1 of Pneumonia: Causes, symptoms and treatment Photo 1 of Pneumonia: Causes, symptoms and treatment
Can pneumonia be spread?The answer is yes".

The cause of pneumonia

Many germs can cause pneumonia. The most common are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. The body usually prevents these germs from spreading to the lungs, but sometimes they can tame the immune system, even when the overall health is healthy. Pneumonia is classified according to the type of germs that cause it and where the patient is infected:

Community-acquired pneumonia

  • Bacteria: The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the United States is Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can appear on its own or appear after a person has a cold or flu. It can affect a part (lobe) of the lungs, causing a condition called lobar pneumonia.
  • Bacteria-like organisms: Mycoplasma pneumoniae can also cause pneumonia. It usually causes milder symptoms than other types of pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia (Walking pneumonia) is an unofficial name given to this type of pneumonia, usually not serious enough to require the patient to rest in bed.
  • Fungus : This is the most common type of pneumonia in people with chronic health problems or a weak immune system, and in people who have inhaled large numbers of organisms. The fungi that cause this disease can be found in bird droppings, soil, . and vary by geographic location.
  • Virus : Some viruses cause colds and flu that can cause pneumonia. Virus is the most common cause of pneumonia in children under 5 years old. Viral pneumonia is usually mild, but in some cases it can become very serious.

Acquired pneumonia in hospital

Pneumonia acquired in a hospital: Some people get pneumonia during a hospital stay because of another illness. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can be serious because the bacteria that cause it are more resistant to antibiotics and because people who are sick already have it. People who are using breathing machines are at high risk for this type of pneumonia.

Healthcare-acquired pneumonia is a bacterial infection that occurs in people who live in long-term care facilities or are cared for in outpatient clinics, including kidney dialysis centers. Like hospital-acquired pneumonia, health-related pneumonia can be caused by bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics.

Pneumonia inhalation

Respiratory pneumonia occurs when you eat food, drink, vomit or spit in your lungs. Inhaled pneumonia is more likely to occur if something disrupts normal mouth reflexes, such as brain injury or swallowing problems, excessive use of alcohol or drugs.

Risk factors

Pneumonia can affect anyone. But the two age groups most at risk are:

  • Children from 2 years old and under
  • Those who are 65 or older

Other risk factors include:

  • Hospitalization : You are at greater risk for pneumonia if you are in the hospital intensive care unit, especially if you are using a ventilator.
  • Chronic illness : You're more likely to get pneumonia if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease.
  • Smoking : Smoking damages the body's natural defenses - helping to fight off bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia.
  • Weakened or suppressed immune system: People with HIV / AIDS, those who have had an organ transplant, or have been undergoing chemotherapy or long-term steroid use are at risk.

Complications of pneumonia

Even with treatment, some people with pneumonia, especially those at high risk, may experience complications, including:

  • Bacteria in the blood (sepsis): Bacteria that enter the blood from the lungs can infect other organs, potentially causing organ failure.
  • Dyspnea: If severe pneumonia or patients with underlying chronic lung disease, they may have difficulty breathing even when there is enough oxygen. The patient may need to be hospitalized and use a ventilator until the lungs have stabilized.
  • Fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusion) : Pneumonia can cause fluid to build up in a thin gap between the lining layers of the lungs and the chest cavity (pleura). If the fluid is infected, the patient may need to drain through a thoracic duct or surgical removal.
  • Lung abscess : Abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lungs. Abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, surgery or drainage with a needle or long tube placed in an abscess is used to remove pus.

Can pneumonia be spread?

Pneumonia is generally not contagious, but the viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia can infect others. Some viruses that cause infections of the upper respiratory tract (throat and nose) will cause pneumonia. To prevent the spread of the virus, it is best to protect your baby from those around (or family members) who have throat and nose problems. Do not share your baby's clothes, face towels or other items with their family, siblings or other children.

Childhood pneumonia is an acute, contagious disease that can be life threatening. Pneumonia can be spread from patients to their neighbors. Patients with pneumonia can spread germs such as viruses, bacteria, fungi . through tiny droplets of saliva that are released when coughing, sneezing or talking .

Prevent pneumonia

  • Vaccination: The vaccine was developed to prevent certain types of pneumonia and flu. Immunization guidelines have changed over time, so see your doctor when you are not sure whether you have been vaccinated against pneumonia or the flu.

Make sure children are vaccinated. Doctors recommend different types of pneumonia vaccines for children under 2 years of age and for children from 2 to 5 years old who are at risk of having particular pneumococcal disease. Doctors also recommend getting a flu shot for children older than 6 months.

  • Clean personal hygiene: To protect yourself from respiratory infections that lead to pneumonia, wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • No smoking : Smoking damages the natural defense system of the lungs, helping to fight respiratory infections.
  • Boost your immune system health: Get enough sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.