Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses or even fungi. People suffering from pneumonia might experience heavy coughing, fever, and experience hard time breathing. It makes it difficult to transfer oxygen to the blood.
Pneumonia is a condition that causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs, called the alveoli. In this condition, the alveoli of the lungs get filled with mucus or pus, which makes it very difficult to breathe.
Before we head to find out the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, let us look at the causes of the same in brief.
It usually starts when one begins to breathe in germs into the lungs. The onset of the disease usually begins after the person suffers from cold or flu. Cold and flu make it hard for the lungs to fight back, resulting in infections. Hence it becomes easier to get affected from the signs of pneumonia. Suffering from chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma, cancer or even diabetes can also lead to pneumonia.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia
Signs of pneumonia can be mild to life-threatening. It depends on the severity of the infection. The most common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Coughing that produces phlegm (mucus).
- Because the alveoli in the lungs get filled with mucus, it affects the immune system of the body and the person suffers from mild to high-grade fever, chills and also experiences sweating. And because of the same reason, there is little or no room for the inhaled air to occupy for the lungs, thus the person suffers from shortness of breath.
- These above-mentioned conditions eventually lead to one common symptom, which is chest pain.
- There are symptoms that vary according to the severity of the condition and is based on factors like age and general health of the individual.
- Viral pneumonia usually occurs due to influenza virus (type A and B) and is most common in adults. The symptoms include a wheezing cough followed by high fever that occurs after 12 or 36 hours.
- Bacterial pneumonia is common lung infection in which the lung air sacks get inflamed. They might infect a small part of lungs or encompass it entirely, depending on the severity of the infection. Pneumonia causes a high fever of up to 105-degree Fahrenheit with profuse sweating, bluish lips and nails.
- Children (under the age of 5) suffering from pneumonia might experience fast breathing due to the condition.
- Infants suffering from pneumonia might experience vomiting, lack of energy due to having trouble eating and drinking.
- Viral and bacterial pneumonia, which is most common in adults might have lower-than-normal body temperature.
Signs and symptoms based on the location
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP)
This is a bacterial type of pneumonia that is acquired from hospital stay due to an ongoing treatment. It has the same signs of bacterial pneumonia. The most dangerous factor related to this type of pneumonia is that it is resistant to antibiotics. People who are on ventilator machines and other intensive care units stand at a higher risk developing pneumonia.
- Aspiration pneumonia
This type of pneumonia occurs when one inhales, food, drink, or saliva. This too has similar symptoms of bacterial pneumonia and occurs due to abnormal gag reflex which is a result of a brain injury, swallowing problem, or illicit use of drugs.
Treating the signs of pneumonia
- Bacterial signs of pneumonia
This type of pneumonia is treated using antibiotics. Application of antibiotics helps in getting relief from the signs of pneumonia. People suffering from severe cases of pneumonia might have to be admitted to a hospital to get antibiotics intravenously. They may also have to be treated with oxygen, breathing equipment to help ease the symptoms.
- Viral pneumonia
Viral pneumonia can be treated with an antiviral medication like oseltamivir. The doctor might prescribe a high dose of other medications in case the signs of pneumonia are more severe. In such cases the person is advised to drink a lot of fluids, have a proper diet and rest. Viral pneumonia might take several weeks to cure completely.
Home remedies to treat the signs of pneumonia
While these treatment options alone might not cure the signs of pneumonia, they sure will help in providing relief from the symptoms.
- Saltwater gargling
Gargling with salt water will help in getting rid of the excess mucus in the throat, helping in getting relief from irritation.
- Peppermint tea
Peppermint tea helps in expelling mucus. Peppermint helps in the decongesting chest and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Lukewarm compress
Lukewarm compress helps in cooling the body from outside in. Avoid using cold compress as sudden temperature changes can cause chills. Lukewarm compress has a more gradual temperature change.
A hot bowl of soup provides nourishment to the body and helps in improving the immune system, as well as helps in replenishing vital fluids warms the body from inside out.