By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 01 November 2022 & Updated on - 04 November 2022
Symptoms: Chest pain, confusion, loss of mental awareness, fatigue, tiredness, coughing with phlegm, fever, sweating, chills, below average body temperature in some instances, difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, restlessness, headaches, loss of appetite, fast breathing or wheezing in infants, lips and nailbeds turning blue
Causes: Bacteria, Fungi, Viruses
Risk Factors: Compromised immune systems, pre-existing illnesses or chronic conditions, indoor air pollution, smoking or passive smoking, living in crowded spaces, using drugs or alcohol
Severity: Mild to severe (depending on the stage of infection)
Which doctor to consult: If an individual starts noticing symptoms, he/she can visit primary care providers or general physicians. They may direct the individual to a lung specialist, a respiratory therapist, or an infectious diseases specialist depending upon the severity of the cases.
Pneumonia is a disease that leads to inflammation in the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs. The air sacs fill up with fluid or pus, resulting in coughing up phlegm. This disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. Some other symptoms of pneumonia include chills, difficulty breathing and fever.
Pneumonia can either be very mild or life-threatening. Especially, it is dangerous for newborns, children, people over 65, and those with complicated health issues.
Pneumonia, both viral and bacterial, is infectious. This implies that it can be passed from person to person by inhaling airborne particles or droplets from a cough or a sneeze. A patient can also contract this disease by coming into contact with objects or surfaces contaminated with bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia. Fungal pneumonia, contracted from the environment, does not pass from person to person.
Furthermore, pneumonia can be classified into several stages based on the area of the lungs that the pathogen infects. Bronchopneumonia affects the entirety of the lung or lungs and is localised close to the bronchi or around them. On the other hand, lobar pneumonia is more nuanced and affects one or more lobes of the lungs.
Lobar pneumonia’s level of progression happens in four stages.
Blood culture: A blood test or blood culture is extremely effective in indicating whether an infection is present in the bloodstream or not. The arterial blood gas test checks the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.
Sputum culture: Sputum tests are done on the saliva and mucus coughed up by the patient. This is also a good indicator of the presence of infection.
Pleural fluid culture: This uses the fluid present in the pleural space in the chest. The fluid is extracted by inserting a needle between the ribs. After that, the fluid is used to determine the presence of infection and identify its cause.
CT scan: If the pneumonia is taking more time to heal, a doctor may order a chest CT scan to take a better look at the lungs.
Pulse oximetry: Pulse oximetry determines the amount of oxygen in the blood. A sensor attached to the finger of an individual indicates the oxygen saturation level in the bloodstream.
Chest x-ray: This is a vital test when diagnosing pneumonia and helps specify the infection's severity and location. However, it does not offer any insight into the cause of the infection.
Bronchoscopy: A bronchoscopy helps to view the inside of the airway in the lungs using a camera fitted on the end of a flexible tube. The tube moves slowly down the throat and into the lungs. If the patient's early symptoms are severe, or if the patient is hospitalised and not responding to antibiotics, doctors may perform this test.
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What are some of the obvious warning signs of pneumonia?
the severe symptoms or warning signs of pneumonia include the following: chest pain loss of mental awareness fatigue coughing with phlegm fever sweating shiver and chills below normal body temperature in the elderlies difficulty breathing vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea fast breathing or wheezing in infants
Does pneumonia cures by itself?
Yes, pneumonia, especially community-acquired pneumonia, can generally be cured through home remedies and mild medication. However, if left to fester, it can cause serious health issues. In fact, it can lead to hospitalisation. In some cases, it can also prove fatal and cause death.
Is pneumonia contagious?
Bacterial and viral pneumonia are both contagious variants of the disease. However, fungal pneumonia is not contagious.