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Pneumonia

Definition

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the pulmonary tissue. It is a kind of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. It is caused by multiple microorganisms.

Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The most common causes for viral pneumonia are the influenza virus and the respiratory syncytial virus. Pneumococcal disease is the most common bacterial pneumonia.

Prevention

There are measures you can take to prevent pneumonia. It can be prevented frequently, and generally, it can be treated. Reduce the risk of acquiring it through vaccines and other healthy lifestyle habits.

The vaccines that help prevent infections due to pneumonia-causing bacteria and viruses are:

  • Vaccination against type B influenza.
  • Against measles.
  • Against pertussis.
  • Antipneumococcal.
  • Against chickenpox.

Protect your health through healthy lifestyle habits. Try to stay away from people with a cold. If you are sick, stay away from others to prevent infection. Avoid respiratory infections by maintaining good hand hygiene and by cleaning the surfaces you use frequently. You can also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and limit your exposure to cigarette smoke.

Symptoms

The symptoms of pneumonia are diverse, and they depend on the type and responsible pathogenic agent.

  • Bacterial pneumonia: It happens most frequently during the winter. The first symptoms are usually shivers, followed by fever and cough. The fever can exceed 40 degrees in temperature. It brings on difficulty when breathing, rapid breathing, and pain while inhaling.

Viral pneumonia: It has a slower course of symptoms than bacterial pneumonia. A few days can go by before showing any signs. The main symptoms are headache and joint pain. There are no shivers, but the coughing is persistent and painful.

Risk Factors

Due to the fact that this is a disease that shows most frequently in children under the age of give and seniors over sixty five, the risk factors are divided:

In the elderly:

  • Smoking.
  • Chronic disease.
  • Excess weight.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Dementia.
  • Recent surgery and hospitalization.

In children under five years of age:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Viral infection.
  • Lack of vaccinations.
  • Low level of immunity.

Treatment

Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Most cases require oral antibiotics, which can be prescribed in health centers. Hospitalization is only recommended in more severe cases.

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