Pneumonia is one of the major cause of death worldwide. It is an infection in which either both or a single lung is involved. It is caused either by viruses, fungi or bacteria. In pneumonia, lung’s alveoli or air sacs get inflamed and alveoli filled with pus or fluid, making difficulty in breathing. Through immunization, some types of pneumonia can be prevented. In Europe and North America, pneumonia is most common infection in infants and children with an annual incidence of 34 to 40 cases per 1,000 children.
Spreading of pneumonia is mostly carried via sneezing, coughing or even by breathing. Healthy people recover from pneumonia in 1-3 weeks. There are many different causes of pneumonia. By knowing the exact cause help in the treatment of pneumonia because treatment of any disease depends on its cause.
Depending upon patients age, type of pneumonia and organism which cause infection (bacteria, virus or fungi) symptoms can vary from severe to mild. Most common symptoms involved:
- Shaking chills.
- Coughing ( some times with greenish or yellowish mucus)
- Shortness of breath, which occur on exertion (e.g climb stairs)
Other symptoms include headache, sharp chest pain, sweating, loss of appetite and fatigue.
Types and Causes of Pneumonia:
- If pneumonia is caused by Bacteria, it can either develop on its own or after a serious flu or cold. Streptococcus pneumoniae is one of the most common cause, other include Chlamydophila pneumonia or Legionella pneumophila. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is sometimes seen in patients which have weak immune systems(e.g in cancer or AIDS)
- If pneumonia is caused by Virus in young children and elderly, mainly it is cause by respiratory viruses. Viral pneumonia is also cause by flu virus which can be fatal or severe. It is especially harmful to patients with heart or lung disease or for pregnant women.
- Mycoplasma species are also cause of pneumonia. They are not bacteria or viruses. It generally cause mild pneumonia.
Treatment of pneumonia depends on its severity as well as type of organism which are involved. Treatment may involve support in breathing and use of antibiotics, antiviral or anti-fungal agents. All medicines should be taken as prescribed.
- Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. For proper selection of antibiotics, some information regarding person’s age, resistance about specific antibiotics and lungs conditions of patients must be kept in mind. If antibiotic course is not completed and patients stop taking medicines, pneumonia may return with worse symptoms. People feel improvement after one to three days of treatment started.
- If there is viral pneumonia, then antibiotics are of no use. Certain antiviral drugs are used to treat the condition of patient. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually clear within one to three weeks.
- In rare cases, parasites or fungus is the cause of pneumonia, so anti-parasitic drugs or anti-fungal are used to treat the symptoms of pneumonia.
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