Everything you need to know about pneumonia and how to prevent it

Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava


The lungs are a pair of air-filled and spongy organs that are located on either side of the chest and play the main role in the breathing process. The lungs are one of the most important organs that provide oxygen to every cell in the body to make their lives easier, while at the same time removing fumes like carbon dioxide, which is a by-product that is made during the metabolism of cells.

Lung disease is one of the most common diseases in India, of which pneumonia is the most common as it accounts for about 23% of all global cases, with a death rate between 14% and 30%.

Pneumonia is a contagious disease that causes pneumonia due to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections and builds pus and fluid into the tiny air sacs (known as alveoli) in the lungs, preventing oxygen uptake, making breathing difficult and painful.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumonia is the largest infectious disease that kills most children worldwide. Some research studies also show that pneumonia is just as severe in people aged 65 and over as it is in infants and young children.

This article will walk you through the causes of pneumonia, its symptoms, and the preventative measures that can help treat the condition.

What types and causes of pneumonia are there?

The air we breathe consists of numerous bacteria, viruses and fungi that attack the lungs and cause pneumonia. The condition can also develop in people who are addicted to smoking because it weakens the lungs and makes breathing difficult.

Some common types of pneumonia and their causes include:

  • Community acquired pneumonia

It is the most common form of pneumonia and the infection depends on community vectors. Causes of community-acquired pneumonia include:

Bacteria: Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are the primary bacterial causes of pneumonia, which can spread if the infected people cough or sneeze.

Viral infections: Viruses like influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and rhinoviruses (common cold) can cause respiratory infections and pneumonia. The airways include the nose, throat, windpipe (windpipe), and lungs

  • Hospital acquired pneumonia

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that occurs during a hospital stay for another disease. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a serious condition because the person is already sick and may have a weak or weakened immune system. People who use ventilators (ventilators) are at high risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia.

  • Long-term care facility-acquired pneumonia

This condition occurs when a person is in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, outpatient departments, or clinics for extended stays.

Aspiration pneumonia is a condition that develops when solid food, liquids, saliva, or vomit goes from the windpipe to the lungs instead of the esophagus to the stomach. If these substances are not coughed up, they remain in the lungs and can cause infections that develop into pneumonia.

Pneumonia Symptoms

The symptoms of pneumonia are different for everyone and depend on factors such as age, the cause of the infection, and the severity of the disease.

Common symptoms that any person can manifest include:

    • Fever, cough and chills
    • Discomfort and unusual sweating
    • Panting
    • Persistent chest pain that increases when you cough, sneeze, or take deep breaths
    • Bluish tinge of the lips and / or nails due to lack of oxygen
    • Reluctance to eat
    • fatigue
    • Breathing problems such as rapid breathing and nasal fibrillation (spreading the nose)

The symptoms of pneumonia in infants and young children may include:

    • cough
    • fever
    • Difficulty eating
    • Breathing problems such as grunting noises when breathing, moving the chest inward when breathing in (chest moving outward when breathing in), and temporarily stopping breathing while the toddler sleeps
    • Decreased urination
    • The skin becomes pale
    • Unusual restlessness

Newborns are at greater risk of developing pneumonia because they can be infected by bacteria in the birth canal. Viruses are the leading cause of pneumonia in young children, adults, and the elderly.

Preventive measures to treat pneumonia

Preventive measures that can help treat pneumonia include:

    • Vaccination against pneumonia
    • People aged 65 and over and children under 5 are more prone to developing pneumonia because of their weak immune systems. Taking care of their health and seeing a doctor immediately if they show symptoms can help treat the disease in its early stages and prevent it from getting worse
    • Avoid contact with dust, chemicals, toxic fumes, or other environmental factors that can damage and weaken the lungs. Damaged lungs are more prone to pneumonia.
    • Stay away from bad lifestyle choices that can damage your lungs. These include smoking, Alcohol abuse, poor posture (sinking and lying down), sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet
    • A weak immune system increases the chances of developing pneumonia. Take measures like eating healthy and getting regular exercise to get a boost immunity

The following conditions can also increase the risk of pneumonia, so preventing these conditions can help prevent pneumonia:

Some home remedies to treat pneumonia:

    • Get a lot of rest
    • Drink enough
    • Do not leave your home or room until symptoms have subsided
    • Take warm baths

Final thoughts

Pneumonia is a lung disease that should be counteracted early on, or that can be chronic or fatal. By avoiding the above causes and taking the necessary preventative measures when the symptoms appear, the condition can be easily treated. If the symptoms persist, we recommend that you consult a doctor immediately and be diagnosed at the earliest.

Get tested on Penumonia today!

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