It’s a winter day and almost in every family, we can find cough, cold and flu. Old age people and children are commonly infected with this. Pneumonia is also very common in winter. It normally starts with a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. The infection causes inflammation in the air sacs in your lungs, which are called alveoli. The alveoli fill with fluid or pus that can make it hard for you to breathe in enough oxygen to reach your bloodstream. The infection could be in one or both lungs. It can be a serious and life-threatening disease. Pneumonia can occur in young and healthy people, but it is most dangerous for older adults over age 65, infants younger than age 2, and people with other diseases. That’s because their immune systems might not be strong enough to fight it.
What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?
Although the symptoms of Pneumonia can vary but the first symptoms of pneumonia usually resemble those of a cold or flu. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type of germ causing the infection, your age, and your overall health. Symptoms of Pneumonia and Coronavirus are same and the common signs and symptoms of pneumonia are:
- Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, especially in older people
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What are the causes of Pneumonia?
Bacteria and viruses are the main causes of pneumonia which flows in the air we breathe. Your body usually prevents these germs from infecting your lungs but sometimes these germs can overpower your immune system, even if your health is generally good.
Pneumonia can be contagious. The bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia are usually inhaled. They can be passed on through coughing and sneezing, or spread onto shared objects through touch.
The body sends white blood cells to attack the infection. This is why the air sacs become inflamed. The bacteria and viruses fill the lung sacs with fluid and pus, causing pneumonia.
What are the diagnostic tests for Pneumonia?
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. Here are some diagnostic tests which can be recommended by your doctor.
- Blood test: – Firstly, your doctor will recommend for Blood test to confirm an infection. This test can also help to identify what may be causing your condition and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray: – An X-ray helps your doctor look for signs of inflammation in your chest. It also helps to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry: – This test is measuring the oxygen level in your blood. A sensor placed on one of your fingers can indicate whether your lungs are moving enough oxygen through your bloodstream. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test: – A sample of mucus (sputum) taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
- CT scan: – CT scans provide a clearer and more detailed picture of your lungs.
- Fluid sample: – If your doctor suspects that there is fluid in the pleural space of your chest, they may take a fluid sample using a needle placed between your ribs. This test can help identify the cause of your infection.
- Bronchoscopy: – It is procedure used to look into the lungs’ airways. It does this using a camera on the end of a flexible tube that’s gently guided down your throat and into your lungs. Your doctor may do this test if your initial symptoms are severe, or if you’re hospitalized and not responding well to antibiotics.
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Prevention from Pneumonia:
Not only in pneumonia but also in all diseases, prevention is always better then cures. Because Pneumonia can be contagious so it is always advisable to prevent yourselves. Here is some prevention:
- Vaccinations that can prevent you from Pneumonia
- Practice good hygiene that can also prevent from any flu and Pneumonia. It includes regular hand washing and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking damages your lungs’ natural defenses against respiratory infections. Smoking makes you more susceptible to respiratory infections, especially pneumonia.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to strengthen your immune system. Get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise.