Pneumonia

Symptoms and treatment of pneumonia

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is not a term for just one illness. Rather, it is a term that includes any illness in which the lungs are inflamed or infected. The alveoli, or air sacs, within the lungs that are responsible for absorbing oxygen are filled with mucus and stop functioning properly. Many types of pneumonia can be cured within one month, but pneumonia can also result in death, particularly among infants and the elderly.

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What are the types of pneumonia?

Bacterial pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs. The most common bacterium to cause pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can also be the culprit behind bacterial meningitis. Other forms of bacterial pneumonia can result when bacteria from the digestive system is displaced, as by vomit, and then inhaled into the lungs.

Viral pneumonia is caused by invasive viruses including the very common influenza. Therefore, the common flu can often progress to viral pneumonia. This is the most common type of pneumonia found in children.

Bronchial pneumonia, or bronchopneumonia, is a more progressed type of pneumonia in which the infection has spread to the bronchial tubes of the lungs.

Walking pneumonia is a mild form of pneumonia that generally does not require hospitalization or bed rest. Because walking pneumonia symptoms are hard to detect, it is often difficult for the infected person to realize that they have pneumonia; they simply feel more tired than usual. People with walking pneumonia are often more sick than they appear.

What are the causes of pneumonia?

The causes of pneumonia vary depending on the type of pneumonia, but pneumonia generally results from fluid filling the lungs as a result of bacterial or viral infections.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Pneumonia symptoms can also vary based on type. General symptoms of pneumonia include:

More serious pneumonia symptoms that may be revealed by medical tests are a fast heart rate and low blood pressure.

How is pneumonia treated?

Pneumonia treatment also varies depending on the type of pneumonia. Antibiotics are used when dealing with bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics for pneumonia include Augmentin, Floxin and Ceftin. Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, cannot be treated by antibiotics, but generally, the virus subsides within weeks. Treatment for the various types of pneumonia almost always includes lots of rest and fluids, breathing exercises, and fever-reducing or pain-relieving medication.

Is pneumonia contagious?

Pneumonia is not technically contagious. While pneumonia is caused by bacteria and viruses, which can be transmitted from person to person, these germs do not always result in pneumonia. So, even if you are exposed to a person with pneumonia and have direct contact with the bacteria or virus, you will not necessarily contract pneumonia.

By Shane Hampton