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Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs in which the air sacs fill up with fluid or phlegm. Thus resulting in coughing, painful breathing and limited oxygen intake.
Pneumonia can vary from mild to severe. Generally affecting those most vulnerable, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. According the to World Health Organization "Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Pneumonia killed 808,694 children under the age of 5 in 2017, accounting for 15% of all deaths of children under five years old." In the same year, the CDC reported 49,157 deaths in the United States due to pneumonia.
Classifications of Pneumonia
Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP): Is simply pneumonia that is not acquired while in a hospital and acquired at home. This type of pneumonia is generally caused by pneumococci.
Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP): As the name suggests, this pneumonia is acquired while in the hospital. Staphylococci is a common cause of this pneumonia and is more resistant to antibiotics.
Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP): This is pneumonia acquired while on a ventilator.
Causes and Treatments of Pneumonia:
Bacterial Pneumonia: The most common type of pneumonia is due to a bacterial infection. Generally caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Antibiotics are used to treat this form of pneumonia.
Viral Pneumonia: This form of pneumonia is due to a viral infection. Many are the same viruses that cause the common cold (rhinoviruses), flu (influenza), and coronavirus. This form of pneumonia is usually mild in nature and does not require any treatments. However antivirals may be prescribed to treat.
Fungal Pneumonia: The least common form of pneumonia is caused by fungal spores. People with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible. Anti-fungal medication is utilized for treatment.
In addition to the treatments mentioned, there will be instances in which artificial respiration and corticosteroids is required. And to aid in recovery, drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest is recommended. Plus over the counter pain medications can help with fever and aches.
Symptoms of Pneumonia:
Wash your hands properly
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Get a flu vaccination. Pneumonia can result from the flu.
Get a pneumonia vaccination. Recommended for children under 2, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Sources: World Health Organization, Center For Disease Control and Prevention, WebMD,
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Healthline