Flu is a disease that causes a lot of discomforts and makes people miserable. This disease is more common in cold seasons. The symptoms of flu are fever, cough, cold, tiredness, sore throat and so on. Flu mostly affects children, however, adults are not spared too. Flu or cold sometimes can develop into other diseases that can incapacitate people, or even kill them if not well treated. An example of this is pneumonia. Flu is one of the most common causes of pneumonia. Pneumonia associated with flu can be lethal. It usually leads to the accumulation of fluid and decreases the supply of oxygen to the pulmonary system, and tissues of the body.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an inflammatory disease of the lung that is caused by infection. This disease affects the alveoli, the little air sacs in the lungs. Patients usually present with symptoms such as cough, which might be with sputum or without sputum, fever, tiredness, pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, and so on. The symptoms presented by patients depending on the severity of the disease. Pneumonia is caused by infection. This could be a viral, bacterial infection and could also be caused by other microorganisms. It can also be caused by autoantibodies and drugs. There are some conditions that increase the chance of having this disease. Some of them are chronic obstructive disease, diabetes mellitus, heart diseases, smoking, and so on. The diagnosis is made based on the presenting symptoms. In addition to this, the blood of the patient can be cultured and tested. The sputum produced can also be tested for the presence of microorganisms. Pneumonia can be divided into many types. Some of them are nosocomial pneumonia, community-acquired pneumonia and health care pneumonia. People can be vaccinated against this disease, alongside other health practices people can do. These include frequent washing of the hands, especially after using anything a lot of people use, such as the menu in a restaurant, the subway handles etc.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia?
The rate at which the symptoms of this disease is presented depends on the microorganism. For example, pneumonia caused by bacteria tend to present rapidly. Some of the general symptoms of pneumonia are;
- Cough: This one of the most common and early presentation of this disease. A cough usually exists in two forms. It can either be productive, or non-productive. The sputum produced in a productive cough comes from the lungs. They are usually colored, which could vary from green to rusty brown, and can also contain blood.
- Fever: People affected by pneumonia usually experience fever. This includes general discomfort in the body and abnormal body temperature.
- Abnormal breathing: Patients usually do have an abnormal way of breathing. Their breathing might become fast. In addition, they may also experience shortness of breath.
- Pain in the chest: Patients do also complain of chest pain. The pain mostly worsens when they try to breathe in, and when they cough.
- Tiredness: Pneumonia patients often complain of tiredness, which might not be resolved even after sleeping.
- Vomiting and nausea: This is also one of the most prevalent symptoms.
The symptoms might be a bit different in adults. Older adults might not present with some of the earlier mentioned symptoms such as fever. Although they might have a non-productive cough, the most common sign of this disease in older adults is an alteration in how they think. This is also known as delirium. The symptoms shown by patients infected with a bacterial and viral pneumonia are the same
What Are The Causes Of Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an inflammatory disease caused by infections. This disease is mostly caused by viruses and bacteria. However, it could be caused by other microorganisms, medications and so on. According to statistics, viral and bacterial pneumonia accounts for up to 50% of all cases of pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: These organisms are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumonia is responsible for about half of all cases of community-acquired pneumonia. Other microorganisms that could cause the disease are Haemophilus influenza, chlamydophila pneumonia, and Mycoplasma pneumonia. Staphylococcus aureus and Legionella pneumophila are also common causes of this disease. Streptococcus pneumonia is most common in cold seasons such as winter.
- Viral pneumonia: Viruses are responsible for about 14% of all pneumonia cases. Some of the common virus that causes this inflammatory disease are rhinoviruses, which causes common cold, influenza virus, adenovirus and so on. Influenza viruses are responsible for about half of the cases of pneumonia, especially during cold seasons such as winter.
- Fungi pneumonia: This is rare, but there have been many cases. It occurs in individuals with a weakened or compromised immunity. Examples of this cases include persons affected by AIDS, or individuals on immunosuppressive drugs.
What are the risk factors for Pneumonia?
Pneumonia can affect anyone, regardless of the age, gender or race. However, there are some factors that increase the risk of having the disease. They include;
- Older adults from the age of 65 and above, and infants below the age of two years have a higher chance of having the disease.
- Smoking and chronic alcohol consumption
- Other diseases such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.
Diagnosis Of Pneumonia
Physicians usually ask their patients about the symptoms they’ve presented with, in addition to doing physical examinations. Your doctor might also order a chest x-ray and a complete blood count. However, more tests might be ordered, depending on the severity of the disease. The sputum of the patient might also be collected and tested if the patient has a productive cough.
How Is Pneumonia Treated?
The treatment of this disease mostly depends on the severity of the disease. For pneumonia caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. Your physician would prescribe antibiotics, anti-viral, and anti-fungal medications respectively. Drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prescribed by your doctor. Examples of these drugs are aspirin and ibuprofen. Cough syrups can also be recommended to ease a cough. Overall, if you notice any of the symptoms explained above, after having flu or cold, it’s best to contact your doctor.
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