Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to become inflamed and filled with fluid or pus. This infection makes it difficult for you to breathe and can be caused by various factors, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
What are the causes of pneumonia?
Viral pneumonia. This type is usually caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV infection usually begins with mild illness and then worsens over time. Infants younger than six months have difficulty fighting off the infection because their immune system is not fully developed yet. Symptoms include high fever, fast breathing, poor feeding, lethargy, irritability, and coughing.
Bacterial pneumonia. The most common types of bacterial pneumonia are:
Klebsiella Pneumoniae (gram-negative bacteria that is associated with different types of infection, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections),
Streptococcus pneumoniae (bacteria that is usually found in the nose and throat. and can cause severe illness in children, the elderly and other people with weakened immune systems. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of middle ear infections, blood infection in children and pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals and the elderly)
Mycoplasma pneumonia (a type of bacteria that causes many diseases ranging from mild upper respiratory tract infection to severe atypical pneumonia).
This type is more severe and may result in sepsis, a life-threatening complication. Septic shock is characterized by high fever, elevated white blood count, and low blood pressure. Patients who develop septic shock require intensive care and sometimes even mechanical ventilation.
Fungal pneumonia. This type is most common in patients with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, as well as people who are exposed fungi from contaminated soil or bird droppings.
How is pneumonia treated?
Treatment options are determined by the severity of your pneumonia. Whatever the cause of pneumonia, people should get plenty of rest, take the prescribed medications, and stay hydrated. To help control the symptoms, the doctor may prescribe coughing medicine or over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
The pulmonologist may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia, antiviral medication for viral pneumonia, and antifungal medication for fungal pneumonia. Hospitalization may be required for patients with severe cases of pneumonia so that intravenous antibiotics and fluids may be given to them, as well as oxygen supplementation.
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