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Pneumonia is a lung related disease that can claim lives if not treated properly. It is basically an inflammatory illness that attacks the lungs in human body. In clinical terms it is often referred as lung parenchyma. The elderly population is more susceptible to this disease than others. Younger people who are heavily addicted to smoking and drinking can also develop this ailment.

Causes of Pneumonia

As a matter of fact, this disease is caused by the infection of the lungs. The lungs can contract infection in a number of ways including the virus, bacteria, parasite and fungi. Even chemical injury to the lungs can trigger the infection. It has several types but the most fatal variant is the Bacterial pneumonia.

It is seen more in the adults and can have severe consequences on the victims. The bacterium that is responsible for causing Pneumonia in most of the cases is called Streptococcus pneumoniae. On the other hand, immune deficiency often leads to fungal pneumonia. The disease is classified based on the transmission source or route.

Pneumonia Symptoms

In this disease, the alveoli of the lungs in an affected person are filled with fluid and restrict oxygen from mixing with the bloodstream. The victims of infectious pneumonia suffer from heavy cough and spit phlegm. They may also suffer from high fever accompanied with chills.

Other probable signs of the disease are chest pain and shortness of breath. It has often been observed that the victims of pneumonia cough up blood and feel bouts of headache. They may feel a loss of appetite and tiredness. Some patients of the ailment develop more symptoms like vomiting, nausea and muscle aches. Apart from physical discomforts such a person may also suffer from mood swings.

If the toddlers get afflicted with this ailment they may exhibit any or all of the aforesaid symptoms but generally they suffer from a reduced appetite and sleepiness. Usually, chest X-ray is used to diagnose and confirm the occurrence of the malady.

Treating Pneumonia

There are some widely used treatments for this ailment. The patients of Bacterial Pneumonia are generally treated with the antibiotic medicines. However, they are not equally effective in treating cases of viral pneumonia. The type of antibiotic drug depends on the type of pneumonia. Apart from that the immunity level of the person as well as his overall health also need to be considered.

The hospital acquired pneumonia is treated with antibiotics like vancomycin, carbapenems, aminoglycosides and fluoroquinolones. If the patient is suffering from breathing problems he can be given oxygen. In cases of dehydration, a patient can be given fluids through intravenous routes. The duration of the treatment usually lasts from 14 to 28 days while some patients show quicker response to the medicines. While Bacterial pneumonia gets cured within a period of 4 weeks, the viral pneumonia can take longer to heal.

Physiotherapy is also used to treat some victims of Pneumonia. A patient of the ailment can be treated at home. He should be given a combination of rest, antibiotic medicines, and lots of fluids. Additionally, medicines like paracetamol or aspirin can be given to reduce the joint pains or muscle aches. However, children below 16 years of age should not be given medicines like aspirin.

There are some vaccines that can be availed to prevent the occurrence of some variants of this disease. If a person contracts viral pneumonia triggered by influenza A he can be given amantadine and rimantadine. It needs to be remembered that these treatments can work only if they are applied within 2 days of contracting the infection.


Even though the majority of Pneumonia cases can be effectively treated at home, the elderly patients or people with severe immune deficiency should be given expert medical care of a hospital.

The supply of oxygen should be kept ready as some patients may develop breathing difficulties. Body fluids that are lost needs to be restored and people who have developed complication may require intensive care treatment.

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#1 - Lyda marie L. Tan - 08/01/2012 - 06:33
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