What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia, a severe and life-threatening condition is an infection of the lungs and can start. Causes of pneumonia could be bacteria, virus, or fungi.

The air sacs in the lungs become inflamed by infection and can cause the lungs to be filled with fluid.

People that are infected with pneumonia are at risk of death, especially infants, young children and people over 65.

Pneumonia symptoms

The first symptoms of pneumonia usually resemble a cold or flu which then can develop to high fever, cough with sputum and chills.

Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Green phlegm
  • Fast breathing and shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Worsening chest pains
  • Sweating
  • Increased heartbeat rate
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Confusion
  • Purplish skin colour

Different symptoms can occur due to the different types of pneumonia

Causes of Pneumonia

Bacteria and viruses mainly cause pneumonia; if you catch viral pneumonia, you are at risk of catching bacterial pneumonia.

Viral pneumonia means you are at risk of infecting others with it. The virus is air-borne so coughing or sneezing may spread the virus. Sharing drinks and food with an infected person also pose a threat to spreading the virus.

Inflammation of the air sacs occurs when the body sends white blood cells to attack the infection.

Pneumonia Treatments

As with most viruses, the best treatment is prevention, vaccination is recommended, however, if you are infected with the virus, there are several treatments you can receive. Some light pneumonia may be treated at home, but severe pneumonia or babies and children that are infected may need to be admitted to hospital.

Pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics.  Depending on the type of pneumonia, different kinds of antibiotics and painkillers may be used.

Home treatment medication includes:

  • Antibiotics
  • Paracetamol
  • Painkillers

Hospitalisation treatment includes:

  • Antibiotics are given intravenously (via a drip into a vein).
  • Oxygen therapy – to ensure the body gets the oxygen it needs.
  • Intravenous fluids – to correct dehydration or if the person is too unwell to eat or drink.
  • Physiotherapy – to help clear the sputum from the lungs.

To prevent pneumonia or if you have any symptoms, you should consult your doctor. You can now book doctor’s appointment online from Okadoc in just one easy tap.