What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, which is caused by micro organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that travel to the lungs.

Pneumonia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Pneumonia begins with the upper respiratory tract becoming infected. The air sacs then fill up with pus and mucus. This inflammation causes lungs to become less stretchy and also keeps oxygen from properly reaching the blood stream. When this occurs, symptoms usually follow two to three days later.

Reoccurrence of pneumonia is very common. Many people tend to become infected three to four times over the course of a couple years.

Different types of pneumonia include:

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia vary on the age of the patient and cause of pneumonia. A symptoms of pneumonia in adults are shaking chills, which is followed by a quick fever.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Persistent cough
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased activity

Causes of Pneumonia

Pneumonia has many different causes. It can be caught from breathing in food, liquid, chemicals, and dust. It can then either affect a section of the lung (lobar pneumonia) or affect the lung in patches around the tube which brings in oxygen (bronchial pneumonia).

Diagnosis of pneumonia

A doctor who suspects pneumonia begins by performing a physical examination and by taking a thorough look into the patient’s medical history.

A doctor may perform some of the following in the physical examination:

  • Chest X-Rays
  • Blood Test
  • Use of the stethoscope
  • Sputum Test
  • A lung biopsy in severe cases

Preventing Pneumonia

Curing pneumonia can take a while. The time it takes for a person to become healthy is based on the type of pneumonia contracted, severity, and general health of a patient. A healthy person can recover within two or three weeks if treatment is completed. Pneumonia is contagious due to the organisms that cause pneumonia, therefore avoid the following:

  • Contact with used tissues
  • Sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Smoking
  • Not receiving a flu shot each year