What Is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a common, but potentially life-threatening illness caused by an infection to the lungs from various strains of bacteria or viruses.
A person infected with Pneumonia will experience trouble breathing because of fluid and pus filling up the lung sacs.
Babies and Elderly
Pneumonia can affect anyone exposed to the viruses and bacteria causing it. However, there are certain people who have a higher risk of contracting pneumonia-namely infants, the elderly and anyone else with an existing compromised immune system.
The elderly tend to be more susceptible to the disease due to their often co-morbid conditions, which means their bodies will not fight the disease and recover as well as a younger person’s body will.
Babies are also more susceptible to their immune systems are not yet fully developed to cope with the strain of the infection.
Symptoms and Signs of Pneumonia
If a baby or elderly patient experiences any combination of these symptoms, it is likely they may have pneumonia.
- Lethargy and Weakness
- Difficulty breathing, including wheezing and shallow, fast breathing
- Skin turning blue, especially around the mouth
- Signs of the chest or abdominal pain
- High Fever (typically over 38 degrees Celsius)- especially if this is experienced in combination with muscular pains as well as chills
- Gastro-intestinal problems-nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting
Viral Vs Bacterial Pneumonia
Pneumonia can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Typically, bacterial pneumonia will lead to more sudden symptoms-including sudden high fever and breathing troubles. Viral Pneumonia may be trickier to detect, as it may seem like a common cold at first, with symptoms getting progressively worse.
If pneumonia is suspected, a doctor will run a series of physical tests and laboratory tests. A doctor will start with the basic examination of vitals, including checking breathing rates with a stethoscope and then assessing the state of the eyes, throat, glands and then checking the temperature and blood pressure.
After which chest X-rays, blood tests and mucus test may be ordered to confirm that it is pneumonia.
Treatment for Pneumonia
Since viral and bacterial pneumonia must be treated much differently, it is essential that you understand the type of pneumonia you are dealing with.
Bacterial pneumonia will be treated with a course of anti-biotics and Viral pneumonia will be treated with various anti-viral medications.
It is important to stay well fed and hydrated. Since those with severe strains of pneumonia may have trouble breathing and low blood-oxygen levels, oxygen therapy may also be necessary. Medications to relieve some of the symptoms like pain, fever and insomnia may be prescribed. Although coughing is one of the most prominent symptoms of pneumonia, some doctors encourage coughing as it expels much of the phlegm and mucus, filling the lungs.
How to Prevent Pneumonia
Clean and dis-infect-Since various viruses and bacteria around cause Pneumonia, the best way to prevent it is to maintain proper hygiene
Immune Support- A weaker immune system may make one more susceptible to pneumonia and so it helps to find ways to strengthen the immune system. A good immune boosting supplement may help.
Vaccinate- There are vaccinations that protect against most of the common strains of viral and bacterial pneumonia. Babies are able to receive the pneumococcal vaccine before the age of 2. The pneumococcal vaccine will prevent 22 strains of bacterial pneumonia. Older people will need to receive more frequent vaccinations ( once every five years after age 65) as these vaccinations are effective for shorter duration in older people. An influenza vaccine will help to prevent pneumonia and can lessen the symptoms of the flu. It is recommended that older patients receive a flu shot once a year.
Smoke-Free zone- smoking and second-hand smoke increases the risk of pneumonia and many lung complications
Dental Hygiene: Poor dental hygiene in the elderly can lead to Pneumonia as infection can occur around teeth and dentures
Doctors-On-Call for Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a very serious illness and the complications can be severe if left untreated. Professional medical intervention is essential. Luckily, Doctors-on-Call is able to help with timely and efficient treatment in the comfort of your own home, office or anywhere else. Our doctors are able to diagnose pneumonia and the cause and prescribe and well as arranging the appropriate medications and course of treatment needed. There is no need for your loved ones to suffer and for you to worry. Just call Doctors-on-Call and let us help!