Pneumonia infection can affect both healthy and sick people, but it is a very serious infection that may be life threatening. Especially on infants, the elderly, and especially patients with weakened immune systems. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the symptoms of pneumonia, to know the causes behind it and how to diagnose it, in order to reduce its dangerous health consequences.
Pneumonia is an infection caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. This leads to inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs . And full of fluid or pus (a purulent substance).
Some people may develop atypical or atypical pneumonia, which a person may not realize that they have, as the patient will have symptoms that are more like a moderate respiratory infection than pneumonia.
Symptoms of pneumonitis
Symptoms and their level of severity vary depending on the type of infection causing the pneumonia, age, and a person's general health. The initial symptoms of pneumonia are often similar to the symptoms of influenza , but they last for a longer period of time, and the most prominent symptoms are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Green or rusty phlegm
- Muscle pain
- shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Lethargy and weakness
- Confusion in the elderly
- Mild blueness in the skin due to lack of oxygen in the blood
Newborns and infants may not show any sign of infection. So it is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 5 worldwide.
Symptoms of atypical pneumonia may include:
- Mild fever
- Shortness of breath
- pain in chest
- Decreased level of appetite
- A dry cough that has lasted for more than a week
Symptoms of pneumonia in children
The symptoms of pneumonia in children may be difficult to detect, but they are among the most common:
- difficulty breathing
- Bluish limbs, lips, or skin
In infants, symptoms may be vague, such as difficulty feeding or discomfort.
Causes of pneumonia
Bacterial and viral infections are the main causes of pneumonia. Where germs settle in the alveoli in the lung in order to multiply, which leads to pneumonia, and their filling with fluid and pus, which in turn prompts the body to send white blood cells to attack the infection agents.
In some cases, pneumonia may be contagious, as it can be transmitted through contact with things shared with the sick person or by coughing and sneezing.
Who is most at risk of pneumonia?
Among the people most vulnerable to infection are:
- Children under five years old
- Asthma patients
- People with weak immunity
- Those suffering from malnutrition
- Recently recovering from a cold or flu
- Take GERD medications
- Recently discharged from the intensive care unit
The doctor will ask a series of questions along with the physical examination, such as:
- The patient's medical history
- Symptoms and their onset for the first time
- A physical examination is like a lung examination to make sure that there are no foreign sounds
- Pulse oximetry for checking blood oxygen levels by finger
He or she may order one or more of the following tests to confirm the case of pneumonia, such as:
- X – ray (Chest X-ray): which helps doctors to know the incidence areas of the lungs and the extent of its spread.
- Blood culture test: which is used to check whether microbes are present in the lungs and the extent of their spread in the bloodstream.
- Sputum culture test : It is a medical test used to detect infection by collecting a sample of mucus after a deep cough, then the sample is sent to a medical laboratory for analysis.
- Blood tests: which are used to measure the number of white blood cells in order to determine the severity of the infection, and whether the infection agents are viral, bacterial or fungal.
- Arterial blood gas test: This provides more accurate readings of the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
- Bronchoscopy: which is used to directly examine the affected parts of the bronchi and lungs, by passing a thin, flexible and light tube called a bronchoscope into the lungs after the patient is anesthetized.
Methods for preventing pneumonia
- Vaccines are available for some types of pneumonia, and a doctor can be consulted in order to obtain this vaccine.
- Maintaining good hygiene habits such as washing hands frequently.
- Avoid crowded places, and closed places as much as possible.
- Avoid contact with people who have symptoms.
- Get enough rest.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Exercising regularly.
- In case of coughing and sneezing, the used tissues should be disposed of immediately.
- Eat nutritious and healthy foods to maintain a healthy immune system .
And if you want to get medical advice in any of the specialties. You can contact a certified doctor through this link.