Feb 13, 2018

Pneumonia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that results in inflammation in one or both of the lungs. Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. It involves swelling of the air sacs in the lungs. They are also known as Avioli. Pneumonia causes the alveoli to fill up with fluid or mucus, resulting in breathing difficulty, chest pain or fever.

Causes of Pneumonia

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria which is considered as the most common source of bacterial pneumonia. It can also be caused due to Chlamydophila pneumonia and Legionella pneumophila.

In young children & elder people, the most common type of pneumonia is caused due to respiratory viruses. Viral pneumonia lasts shorter and is usually not as serious as bacterial pneumonia.

Fungal pneumonia is a type of pneumonia seen in people with a weaker immunity or who are suffering from a chronic disease. This type of pneumonia can be caused by inhaling a large amount of fungi from soil or bird waste.

HAP or Hospital Acquired Pneumonia, is caused due to inhaling organism during your stay in the hospital. This type of pneumonia can cause serious damage & may last for a long time period, as the bacteria causing the disease might become resistant to medicines.

Pneumonia Symptoms

The symptoms of pneumonia might include:

  • Fever
  • Rigorous coughing
  • Mucus in a cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain in chest (more intensely while coughing)
  • Diarrhea
  • Increase in the rate of heartbeat
  • Tiredness and weakness in body
  • Nausea feeling

If most of the above symptoms are experienced, then one should consult his/her physician and get himself/herself tested for pneumonia. These tests might include X-Ray or CT-Scan of lungs, bronchoscopy, blood test, pulse oximetry and urine test.

The number of tests to be performed depend on the number and intensity of the symptoms seen in the patient.


The treatment depends upon the type and cause of pneumonia, how critical it is and your immunity system. The illness from pneumonia might vary from easily curable fever to severely fatal sickness.

If detected on time and the course of treatment is followed properly, pneumonia can be cured in a very short period of time without causing any major inadequacy.

Home Treatment

Mostly pneumonia can be cured at home by taking generic OTC & antibiotics and taking proper rest and precautions. The effect of this routine can be seen very soon (within two to three days). If there is no improvement, you should start with more intense treatment procedure.

The home method is generally effective when the pneumonia is detected at a very early stage and the patient’s doctor prescribes him/her a very light dose of antibiotics along with proper rest.

Medicinal Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics, antifungal or antiviral medicinal course as per the cause of your pneumonia.

Bacterial, viral and fungal pneumonia is generally easily curable by following the medicinal course prescribed by your physician and proper rest. Your doctor might also recommend generic drugs for fever and body ache.

This method is preferred in most of the cases of pneumonia and the curing process generally lasts around two to three days (depending upon the course of medicine).

Hospital Treatment

In the cases when pneumonia becomes serious or exhibits chronic symptoms, the patient might have to be hospitalized. This can be the case if he/she has a very weak immunity or was already suffering from another illness. It is easier for the doctors to keep a close observation on such patients at the hospital and help them better.

The treatment might involve:

  • Hypodermic antibiotics – Use of injectable antibiotic drips. These are generally stronger than the antibiotic medicines that we take at home.
  • Respiration therapy – The therapy uses a variety of methods, which includes injecting specific medicines directly into your lungs. The therapist may also teach you to implement breathing exercises to increase your oxygenation.
  • Oxygen therapy –This therapy involves providing oxygen through the face mask or nasal tube for maintaining the oxygen level in your bloodstream, as pneumonia can cause breathing difficulties leading to deficiency of oxygen in our blood.

Pneumonia can be severely contagious, it can lead to impaired breathing, acute respiratory failure, pleural effusion, septic shock or even fatality, if not detected and treated on time. It is recommended to get yourself tested as soon as you experience the symptoms of pneumonia.

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