Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by germs, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It is an inflammation of the lungs. . Usually these organisms enter the lungs through the air that is breathed. Pneumonia may also be caused from infections that spread to the lungs through the blood stream from other parts of the body.
Some viruses that cause pneumonia are adenoviruses, rhinovirus, influenza virus (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and parainfluenza virus (the virus that causes croup).
Signs and Symptoms
There may be different symptoms in old persons and children. Sometimes a child's only symptom is rapid breathing. Sometimes when the pneumonia is in the lower part of the lungs near the abdomen, there may be no breathing problems at all, but there may be fever and abdominal pain or vomiting.
Some common symptoms include:
· Abdominal pain
- unusually rapid breathing
· Anxiety, stress and tension
- breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
- chest pain
- loss of appetite
- feeling of tiredness
- Rapid pulse rate
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include fever, chest pain, cough, chills, shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Older people may be very sick yet may have few symptoms. Coughing up sputum or phlegm containing pus or blood is an indication of serious infection. In very sick cases, the skin may appear bluish (cyanosis), breathing is laboured and heavy and the patient is confused due to insufficient oxygen in the blood.
Causes of pneumonia
There aredifferent causes:
- Pneumonia is caused when bacteria or viruses that are normally present in the mouth, throat, or nose inadvertently enter the lung. A healthy person's nose and throat often contain bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia.
- When an infected person coughs or sneezes then bacteria enter into air. The other person can get these germs by breathing in infected air.
- Those who have decreased immunity can get easily germs of pneumonia.
- People with recent viral infections, lung disease, heart disease, and swallowing problems can easily get germs of pneumonia
- Alcoholics, drug users, and those who have suffered a stroke or seizure are at higher risk for developing pneumonia than the general population.
Once organisms enter the lungs, they usually settle in the air sacs of the lung where they rapidly grow in number. This area of the lung then becomes filled with fluid and pus as the body attempts to fight off the infection.
- Bacteraemia - Bacteria may enter the blood stream, making the patient very sick. This is the most common complication.
- Pleural effusion and empyema - The pleura has two thin layers enveloping the lung. Between the layers there is normally a small amount of fluid that helps lubricate the lungs. In some patients with pneumonia, this fluid increases (pleural effusion) and may even get infected and become pus, a condition called empyema.
- Pneumothorax and collapsed lung - Air may leak into the space between the pleural membranes causing pneumothorax. This exerts pressure on the lungs resulting in their collapse.
- Other complications - In rare cases the infection may spread from the lungs to other parts of the body causing abscesses or pus collections in the brain and elsewhere. Acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS is a specific condition in which the lungs are unable to function and oxygen is so severely reduced that the patient's life is at risk. For support the patient needs to be put on a ventilator, a machine that artificially helps the patient to breathe.
There are some blood tests and sampling of the sputum or phlegm that is coughed up. In some cases diagnosis is done on the clinical history an physical examination. Sometimes physician advice for chest X-ray.
With treatment, most types of bacterial pneumonia can be cured within 1 to 2 weeks. Viral pneumonia may last longer. Mycoplasmal pneumonia may take 4 to 6 weeks to resolve completely.
Treatments of Pneumonia
In most cases, pneumonia can be treated with oral antibiotics given to your child at home. The type of antibiotic used depends on the type of pneumonia.
But if it is severe case then antibiotics are administered into the vein (intravenous). These may be given for 5 to 10 days or even longer.
Sometimes oxygen and other supportive treatments are needed if you have severe pneumonia.
Serious Pneumonia can be life-threatening, go to your doctor right away if you feel symptoms of Pneumonia like chest pain, fever of 102 F or higher along with chills and sweats - or if you suddenly feel worse after a cold or the flu.
Prevention of Pneumonia
Pneumonia can be prevented by taking some steps.
Avoid close contact with infected persons.
Smoking is a major threat to disease so stop smoking.
Antiviral medication is now available, too, and can be used to prevent some types of viral pneumonia or to make symptoms less severe.
Wash your hands frequently, especially if you are handling used tissues or dirty handkerchiefs.
Keep separate drinking glasses and utensils of infected persons from the other family members.
Home treatment of Pneumonia.
- Check your child's lips and fingernails to make sure that they are rosy and pink, not bluish or gray, which is a sign that your child's lungs are not getting enough oxygen.
- Get plenty of rest and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids.
Herbal remedies for treatment of Pneumonia.
- Increase the intake of raw vegetable juices. For this take 200 ml of spinach juice and 300 ml of carrot juice daily.
- Sesame seeds are good for decreasing effects of Pneumonia. Take 250 ml of water and put 15 grams of sesame seeds. Add one tbsp of linseed and a pinch of common salt and a big tbsp of honey. Mix it well and take it daily.
- Avoid strong tea, coffee. It has a bad effect on pneumonia.
- Take about 5-6 tulsi leaves and extract its juice. Now mix this juice with a few grind grains of black pepper at every six hours interval. This will help you cure pneumonia fast.
- Rub the garlic paste on the chest.
- A tea made from fenugreek seeds will help the suffering person to produce sweat, which would help him to lower down his fever. The person can take up to four cups of the tea daily (not more than that). And this quantity can be gradually reduced as the condition starts improving. During this treatment, you must be taking no other food, as fasting and fenugreek will allow the body to correct these respiratory problems in just a few days, otherwise it would take time.
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