All about Pneumonia

 
Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
All about Pneumonia

Here are Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. The air sacs in the lungs (called alveoli) fill up with pus and other fluid. This makes it hard for oxygen to reach the bloodstream.


Symptoms:

  • Very fast breathing (in some cases, this is the only symptom)
  • Breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  • Working hard to breathe; this can include flaring of the nostrils, belly breathing, or movement of the muscles between the ribs
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Shaking chills
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Belly pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bluish or grey colour of the lips and fingernails (in extreme cases)


Causes:

  • Pneumonia is caused by a variety of germs (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites). Most cases are caused by viruses. These include adenoviruses, rhinovirus, influenza virus (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and para-influenza virus.
  • Pneumonia begins after an upper respiratory tract infection (an infection of the nose and throat). Symptoms begin after 2 or 3 days of a cold or sore throat. It then moves to the lungs. Fluid, white blood cells, and debris start to gather in the air spaces of the lungs and block the smooth passage of air, making it harder for the lungs to work well.
  • Kids with pneumonia caused by bacteria usually become sick fairly quickly, starting with a sudden high fever and unusually fast breathing.
  • Kids with pneumonia caused by viruses will have symptoms that appear more gradually and are less severe.
  • The viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia are contagious. An infected person can spread the illness when (s)he coughs or sneezes. This is because the germs causing this illness live in the body fluids.
  • Sharing drinking glasses and eating utensils, and touching the used tissues or handkerchiefs of an infected person also can spread pneumonia. So it's best to keep kids away from anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection.


Diagnosis:

Doctors check a child's appearance, breathing pattern, and vital signs, and listen to the lungs for abnormal sounds. They might order a chest X-ray or blood tests, but neither are necessary to make the diagnosis.


Treatment:

Pneumonia caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics taken by mouth at home. If the doctor seems fit, (s)he might prescribe antiviral medicine when the pneumonia is caused by a virus. Children might need treatment in a hospital if the pneumonia causes a lasting high fever, breathing problems, or if they:

  • Need oxygen therapy
  • Have a lung infection that may have spread to the bloodstream
  • Have a chronic illness that affects the immune system
  • Are vomiting so much that they cannot take medicine by mouth
  • Keep getting pneumonia
  • Hospital treatment can include intravenous (IV) antibiotics (given into a vein) and respiratory therapy (breathing treatments).

Check your child's lips and fingernails to make sure they are rosy and pink. Call your doctor if they are bluish or grey, which is a sign that the lungs are not getting enough oxygen. With treatment, most types of bacterial pneumonia are cured in 1–2 weeks. Viral pneumonia may take 4–6 weeks to go away completely.


Prevention:

Some types of pneumonia can be prevented by vaccine shots of Haemophilus influenza and flu vaccines.




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