Pneumonia is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and commonly by other microorganisms, certain medications and conditions such as autoimmune diseases. Risk factors include other diseases such as cystic fibrosis, COPD, and asthma, diabetes, heart failure, environment cause and typically a history of smoking.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PNEUMONIA ?
Pneumonia symptoms can be mild to life-threatening. The most common symptoms of pneumonia can include:
- Chest Pain
- Fever, Sweating and Chills
- Coughing That May Produce Phlegm (Mucus)
- Shortness of Breath
SYMPTOMS BY CAUSE OF PNEUMONIA ?
- Viral Pneumonia may start with flu-like symptoms, such as wheezing. A high fever may occur after 12 - 36 hours.
- Bacterial Pneumonia may cause a fever as high as 105 F along with profuse sweating, nails, bluish lips and confusion.
SYMPTOMS BY AGE ?
- Children under 5 years of age may have fast breathing
- Infants may vomit, lack energy, or have trouble drinking or eating.
- Older people may have a lower-than-normal body temperature.
The major types of pneumonia are classified by the cause of the infection, where the infection was transmitted, and how the infection was acquired.
TYPES BY GERM
Pheumonia can be classified according to the organism that caused the infection.
- BACTERIAL PNEUMONIA: The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Chlamydophila pneumonia and Legionella pneumophila can also cause bacterial pneumonia.
- VIRAL PNEUMONIA: Respiratory viruses are often the cause of pneumonia, especially in young children and older people. Viral pneumonia is usually not serious and lasts for a shorter time than bacterial penumonia.
- MYCOPLASMA PNEUMONIA: Mycoplasma organisms are not viruses or bacteria, but they have traits common to both. Mycoplasmas generally cause mild cases of pneumonia, most often in older children and young adults.
- FUNGAL PNEUMONIA: Fungi from soil or bird droppings can cause pneumonia in people who inhale large amounts of the organisms. They can also cause pneumonia in people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems.
IS PNEUMONIA CONTAGIOUS?
Most types of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious. Even though it is possible to spread bacteria from one person to another, pneumonia typically occurs in people with risk factors or weakened immune defenses when bacteria that are normally present in the nose or throat invade the lung tissue. Any kind of bacterial or viral pneumonia has the potential to be contagious, but Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the cause of tuberculosis) are two types of bacterial pneumonia that are highly contagious. Breathing in infected droplets that come from patients who are coughing or sneezing can spread the disease to others.
WHAT IS THE CONTAGIOUS PERIOD FOR PNEUMONIA?
It is impossible to say with certainly exactly how long an adult or child with pneumonia is contagious, since this varies according to they type of germ or organism that caused the pneumonia. This contagious period can ranged from one to two days to weeks. In general, while an infected person is coughing or sneezing, there is the potential to release contaminated droplets into the air.
Many bacterial pneumonias are much less contagious after antibiotics have been taken for about 24-48 hours. However, this time period may vary for some organisms. For example, with tuberculosis, it can take two weeks or more of antibiotics before the person is no longer contagious after the symptoms have improved, especially fever. Some people with viral pneumonia may not be contagious after one to two days with no fever, but others may still shed some infectious virus particles for a much longer time.
WHAT ARE RISK FACTORS FOR PNEUMONIA ?
There are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing pneumonia. These include
- Infant and children 2 years of age or younger;
- age 65 and older;
- a weakened immune system, either due to disease such as HID/AIDS or cancer, or to medications that suppress immune function;
- having a chronic disease such as pulmonary disease (including cystic fibrosis and COPD), sickle cell anemia, asthma, heart disease or diabetes;
- swallowing or coughing problems, as may occur following stroke or other brain injury;
- cigarette smoking;
- being a patient in an intensive care unit of a hospital, particularly if on ventilator support.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR PNEUMONIA ?
Antibiotic medications are the treatment of choice for pneumonia caused by bacterial and fungal infections. The exact choice of medications depends on many factors, including the following:
- The patient's underlying health condition
- The organism responsible for the infection
- The likelihood that the organism is resistant to certain antibiotics
IS IT POSSIBLE TO PREVENT PNEUMONIA ? IS THERE A PNEUMONIA VACCINE ?
It is not possible to prevent all types of pneumonia, but one can take steps to reduce the chance of contracting the condition by quitting smoking, practicing good hand-washing, and avoiding contact with people who have colds, the flue, or other infections.
A vaccine is available against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, Streptococcus penumoniae (also known as Pneumococcus). There are two types of vaccine: PPSV23 (Penumovax), a penumococcal polysaccharide vaccine against 23 types of the bacteria, and PCV13 (Prevnar 13), a penumococcal conjugate vaccine that protects against 13 types of bacteria. These vaccines may not always prevent penumococcal penumonia, but they may prevent serious complications of pneumonia if it does occur.
Avoidance of areas where fungal pathogens are endemic is recommended to prevent fungal pneumonias. There is no antifungal vaccine available: however, for some high-risk patients, some doctors have recommended prophylactic antifungal drugs.
@ Jackie San