Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

  • 16 months ago
4 minute read.
Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

In the past few years, the rate of pneumonia has risen like no other infection. Although pneumonia isn't a hot topic like typhoid or malaria, it's responsible for causing several deaths on a daily basis.

While it impacts kids and adults alike, it's a more serious condition for kids. For instance, out of the 2.5 million people who died from pneumonia, 1/3rd were children younger than five years old.

To know more about pneumonia, its causes, symptoms, and effective treatment, read in full.

What is Pneumonia?

It's an acute respiratory disease that exceptionally affects your lungs. Basically, this lung disease causes your lungs to be filled with fluid or pus. The fluid or the pus in the alveoli of your lungs tends to prevent oxygen intake. This interruption in the passage, thereby, causes breathlessness.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), pneumonia is highly responsible for high mortality in both children and adults worldwide. And children are the ones getting affected severely.

What is the Cause of Pneumonia?

The pathogen for pneumonia could be bacteria, bacteria-like organisms, viruses, or fungi. Out of all, a bacterial infection is the most common and is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Basically, a weak immune system can easily invite such serious infections. Your body has the natural ability, i.e., immunity, to fight off pathogens. However, you become susceptible to such infections if your immunity falls or reduces.

A weakened immune system is often the result of a lack of proper nutrition, contaminated surroundings, and so on. Also, if you suffer from common cold or any other disease associated with the lungs, you may catch pneumonia easily. In addition, COVID-19 has also been found to increase the risk of pneumonia to a certain extent.

What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults?

Adults usually show mild symptoms. Major symptoms that people between the age group of 50-80 may experience are:

  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

However, in case of an immune system that is simply too weak, there are chances of breath shortness and cough with phlegm and blood.

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What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia in Children?

Children are likely to catch infections more easily than adults. 2019 witnessed the death of 740,180 children, accounting for 14% of children under five years. They certainly show more symptoms and may need urgent hospitalization. Major symptoms that have been reported in children are:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Cold
  • Breathlessness, chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrheal
  • Chills, sweating, restlessness
  • Frequent crying (in the case of a newborn)

And if you are wondering whether or not it can be transmitted, please note:

Pneumonia isn't contagious as such. You won't get affected as far as the pathogen cannot disturb your immune system. Bacteria or viruses can surely be transmitted from one person to another via air, blood, or other body fluids. So, you need to be careful while coming in contact with an infected person.

How can Pneumonia be Diagnosed?

According to a report from the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of pneumonia might be confused with the symptoms of other diseases. A proper diagnosis is a must to detect the seriousness of the infection. You simply can't wait for the infection to root in your body.

For the proper diagnosis, your doctor will ask you about the symptoms and perform a physical examination. The rate of your breathing tells a lot about your breathing capacity.

Additional tests such as blood tests, sputum tests, or sometimes x-rays may be conducted based on the severity of the infection. It's, of course, crucial to get an accurate diagnosis for initiating the proper treatment.

How can Pneumonia be Treated?

Your treatment merely depends on the type of pathogen that enters your body. For instance, If the pathogen is bacteria, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics that could treat pneumonia.

And if fungi cause the infection, then you will be given Antifungals such as zanamivir to reduce the infections. If there is viral pneumonia, your doctor may give you some antivirals that can help.

Otherwise, there isn't a cure for viral pneumonia as such. It would be best for you if you get a vaccination in the first place. Other possible treatments include draining excess fluid filled in the lungs, oxygen therapy, and intravenous fluid therapy.  

Steps for Recovery

There are many factors that determine how quickly you recover from an infection, such as your age, the severity of the infection, and your immune system. For instance, if you have crossed the 60s, your immune system may weaken, and you may take longer to recover.

Besides, a good diet along with clean surroundings could boost your recovery process. Also, it is important that you are given the right antibiotics or antivirals for your symptoms. Otherwise, your condition may get worsen unknowingly.

Furthermore, you need an adequate amount of sleep to let your body fight against the infection. Don't overexert your body unnecessarily. All you need is to eat and sleep well. However, it may be a little more difficult to handle the condition in the case of newly born children.

Additional Tips

Chronic smoking sometimes also leads to lung infections. This condition eventually increases the chances of getting pneumonia. Avoid smoking or alcohol to reduce the risk of pneumonia or other problems.

Also, it's vital to wash your hands and maintain good hygiene. Obviously, a healthy lifestyle is a way to a disease-free life. If you know someone who shows symptoms of pneumonia, try avoiding contact and advise him to get the treatment immediately.

Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death in countries with limited resources and a poor healthcare system. However, several countries, such as Bangladesh, Kenya, and India, have taken steps to control the severity of both pneumonia and diarrhea.

Final Word

Pneumonia is an alarming infection that needs immediate action. Neglecting the symptoms of this infection could prove fatal for you. If your body begins exhibiting potential signs and symptoms, seek professional assistance. Don't just delay and wait for the disease to worsen. With the right response, it can be cured really quickly.

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