Everything you need to know about Pneumonia
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a condition that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to become inflamed. This happens when the air sacs become clogged with fluid or pus, resulting in phlegm or abscess (pus filled cavity), cough, fever, chills, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be caused by several microbes, including bacteria, viruses, and fungus. The illness is most dangerous to newborns, children, and individuals over 65, and can also be fatal.
Types of Pneumonia:
More than 30 types of Pneumonia have been detected based on the cause of the disease. The types are:
Viral Pneumonia: This kind is caused by various viruses, including the flu (influenza), and accounts for around one-third of all pneumonia cases. If a person is diagnosed with viral Pneumonia, they may be more susceptible to bacterial Pneumonia.
Bacterial Pneumonia: Various bacteria produce this kind. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most frequent. It happens when the body is compromised in some manner, such as by disease, poor nutrition, old age, or decreased immunity, and the germs can enter the lungs. Bacterial Pneumonia can affect people of all ages. Still, they are more likely to have it if they misuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes, are elderly, have just had surgery, have a respiratory ailment or a viral infection, or have a weaker immune system.
You may notice symptoms such as:
- A cough that produces mucus
- Fever of more than 100.4 F
- Rapid breathing
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest ache
Bacterial Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may do tests to decide the type of bacteria causing your infection so that you can receive the appropriate treatment. This is more likely to occur with hospital-acquired Pneumonia.
Pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma:
Typical Pneumonia is characterized by slightly varied symptoms and physical indications. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the bacteria that causes it. It often produces moderate, generalised Pneumonia that affects people of all ages.
This kind is contracted during a hospital stay. It can be dangerous since the germs that cause Pneumonia are resistant to medications.
This kind is more probable if:
- You are connected to a breathing machine.
- You cannot cough hard enough to get your lungs clean.
- To help you breathe, you have a tracheostomy (trach) tube.
- An illness or therapy has weakened your immune system, which is your body’s fight against microorganisms.
This is a sophisticated way of explaining when infected outside a hospital or long-term care institution. Bacteria, viruses, and fungus can all cause community-acquired Pneumonia. Vaccines can protect against the flu virus and some bacteria that can cause Pneumonia.
Aspiration pneumonia: It occurs when you breathe food, liquids, or vomit into your lungs, is another type of community-acquired Pneumonia. It is more probable if you have swallowing or coughing issues. Bacteria can multiply in your lungs if you cannot cough out the inhaled substance.
It is a milder bacterial Pneumonia. Doctors sometimes refer to it as “atypical” Pneumonia.
The symptoms might be so minor that you are unaware you have them.
Walking Pneumonia can mimic a nasty cold, with symptoms such as fever, coughing, headaches, and chills. You should feel better in 3 to 5 days, although the cough may continue for several weeks.
Causes of Pneumonia:
The most prevalent causes of viral Pneumonia include:
- Viruses that cause influenza
- RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) (RSV)
- SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that produces COVID-19) (the virus that causes COVID-19)
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are the most common causes of bacterial Pneumonia, particularly in children.
The bacteria and viruses that usually cause Pneumonia in the population differ from those found in hospitals. However, medics are not always able to decide which bacterium caused a person to get ill with Pneumonia.
Indications and Symptoms of Pneumonia:
The following are some of the symptoms of Pneumonia:
- Coughing, which might result in greenish, yellow, or even red mucous
- Fever, sweating, and chills
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Sharp or stinging chest discomfort that worsens when you cough or breathe deeply
- Loss of appetite
- Poor energy and lethargy
- Vomiting and nausea, especially in children
- Confusion, particularly among the elderly
Stages of Pneumonia:
The four stages of Pneumonia are:
- Stage 1: Congestion
- Stage 2: Red hepatisation
- Stage 3: Grey hepatisation
- Stage 4: Resolution
Congestion happens within the first 24 hours after getting infected. There are many germs in the lungs, but there are not enough white blood cells to fight the infection. This causes the lungs to appear red due to increased blood flow and swelling of the lung tissue.
Hepatization occurs after 48 to 72 hours (about three days) and lasts 2 to 4 days. In this stage, the clogged lungs become increasingly dry, granular, and airless, resembling the liver in consistency.
Grey hepatisation :
It begins on days 4 to 6 and lasts for 4 to 8 days. In this stage, the lung appears grey or yellow in color. Fibrin and red blood cells degrade and result in a more fluid-like discharge and Macrophages, a giant white blood cell, begin to develop.
It occurs after 8-10 days (about 1 and a half weeks), and macrophages help remove leftover debris and WBC. A severe cough may occur to remove debris. If further lung swelling is present, it leads to chronic lung disease.
Diagnosis of Pneumonia:
The doctors usually begin by enquiring about your medical history and conducting a physical examination, including examining your lungs with a stethoscope to notice any abnormal crackling sounds that suggest Pneumonia.
Analyzing the respiratory rate is another method for achieving this. Inflammation and mucus during an infection can make breathing difficult and increase respiratory rate. The intensity of the sickness is typically used to make a diagnosis.
If Pneumonia is suspected, it is further confirmed with the following tests:
X-ray of the chest:
Tissues, bones, and organs, including the lungs, are photographed during this procedure.
CT Scan and MRI Scan:
A CT scan of the lungs is performed to show finer features within the lungs and diagnose Pneumonia that may be difficult to spot on a simple x-ray. Although MRI is not commonly used to diagnose Pneumonia, it may offer extra information about the lungs if they are abnormal due to excess fluid, infection, or malignancy.
This test can decide whether an infection exists and whether it has migrated to the bloodstream. The amount of oxygen in your circulation is measured through arterial blood gas.
Culture of sputum & antibiotic sensitivity:
This test is performed on material coughed up from the lungs and on the mouth. It is often used to check infection in the lungs.
It involves monitoring the quantity of oxygen in the blood. A tiny sensor is taped or attached to the tip of the finger.
It is used to examine bronchi and bronchioles, assess passages, and perform fluid testing.
Treatment of Pneumonia:
The treatment depends on the type of Pneumonia the individual possesses. Bacterial Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may help hasten healing in some cases of mycoplasma pneumonia. Most of the viral Pneumonia does not have a particular therapy. They usually improve on their own.
Other treatments may include eating correctly, increasing fluid intake, rest, oxygen therapy, pain medication, fever management, and even cough drugs if the cough is severe.
Is Pneumonia contagious?
The microorganisms that cause Pneumonia are often inhaled. People often have germs in their nose and throat that might be passed on. It is caused by bacteria and fungi, which are contagious and spreads through:
- Coughs and sneezes eject tiny droplets of fluid carrying germs into the air, which someone else can breathe.
- Touching an object and transferring germs into the air, someone else can breathe in.
Nursing responsibilities to treat a patient with Pneumonia:
Nursing interventions for pneumonia and care plan goals for pneumonia patients include efforts to aid in efficient coughing, keeping a patent airway, lowering secretion viscosity and tenacity, and assisting in suctioning.
Antibiotics are the primary therapy for Pneumonia, combined with rest and lots of water. The severity of Pneumonia determines the treatment. Antibiotic treatment should begin at once owing to a possible diagnosis.
Senior citizens and children under 5 years are more prone to pneumonia, accounting for 14% of all deaths in children under the age of 5. Vaccinations may be the most effective method of prevention. Apollo Homecare provides Covaxin /covishield, flu vaccination, and pneumococcal vaccine administered by professional nurses right at your doorsteps. Our nurses are also well trained to support senior patients with medical support and assistive care at home.
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