Pneumonia - What It Is, Cause, Symptoms and Treatmentswhich we should not ignore. In addition, thePneumoniais an infection that inflates the air sacs in one or both lungs. Air sacs can fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing coughing with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can causePneumonia. THEPneumoniacan range in severity from mild to fatal. It is very serious for infants and young children, people over 65 and people with health problems or weakened immune systems.
Causes of Pneumonia:Many germs can causePneumonia. The most common are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. Your body usually prevents these germs from infecting your lungs. But sometimes these germs can overwhelm your immune system, even if your health is generally good. THEPneumoniais classified according to the types of germs that cause it and where you got the infection.
Symptoms of Pneumonia:The signs and symptoms of
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- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults 65 years of age or older)
- Cough, which can produce phlegm
- Fever, perspiration and chills
- Body temperature less than normal (in adults over 65 years and people with weak immune systems)
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
Newborns and infants may not show any signs of infection. Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired and have no energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating.
Pneumonia Risk Factors:THEPneumoniacan affect anyone. But the two age groups with the highest risk are:.
- Children 2 years of age or younger
- Persons aged 65 years or over
Other risk factors include:
- Being Hospitalized.You are at higher risk ofPneumoniaif you are in a hospital intensive care unit, especially if you are in a machine that helps you breathe (a ventilator).
- Chronic disease.You are more likely to havePneumoniaif you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease.
- Smoke.Smoking harms your body's natural defenses against bacteria and viruses that causePneumonia.
- Weak or repressed immune system.People who have HIV / AIDS, who have had an organ transplant, or who receive chemotherapy or long-term steroids are at risk.
When to Contact a Physician:Consult your doctor if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher, or persistent cough, especially if you are coughing up pus. It is especially important that people in these high-risk groups see a doctor:.
- Adults over 65 years of age
- Children younger than 2 years with signs and symptoms
- People with an underlying health condition or weakened immune system
- People who receive chemotherapy or who take medication that suppresses the immune system
For some older adults and people with heart failure or chronic lung problems, thePneumoniacan quickly become a potentially fatal condition..
Complications of Pneumonia:Even with treatment, some people withPneumonia, especially those in high-risk groups, may experience complications, including:
- Bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia).Bacteria that enter the bloodstream of your lungs can spread the infection to other organs, potentially causing organic failure.
- Difficulty breathing.If yourPneumoniais severe or you have chronic underlying lung diseases, you may have trouble breathing with enough oxygen. You should be hospitalized and use a breathing machine (ventilator) while the lung heals.
- Accumulation of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion).THEPneumoniacan cause fluid to accumulate in the thin space between layers of tissue lining the lungs and the chest cavity (pleura). If the fluid becomes infected, you will need to drain it through a chest tube or removed with surgery.
- Pulmonary abscess.An abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lung. An abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed in the abscess is necessary to remove the pus.
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Pneumonia Treatments:Treatment forPneumoniainvolves curing the infection and preventing complications. People who havePneumoniaacquired in the community can usually be treated at home with medication. Although most symptoms ease in a few days or weeks, the feeling of tiredness may persist for a month or more. Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of yourPneumonia, your age and your overall health. Options include:
- Antibiotics.These medicines are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. It may take time to identify the type of bacteria that causes yourPneumoniaand choose the best antibiotic to treat it. If your symptoms do not improve, your doctor may recommend a different antibiotic.
- Cough medicine.This medication can be used to calm your cough so you can rest. Because the cough helps loosen and move the fluid out of your lungs, it is a good idea not to eliminate your cough completely. In addition, you should know that very few studies have looked at whether over-the-counter cough medicines have decreased coughs caused byPneumonia. If you want to test a cough suppressant, use the lowest dose to help you rest.
- Fever / analgesic reducers.You can take these, as needed, for fever and discomfort. These include medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
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