Pneumonia: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Pneumonia is an infection of lung. Person from any age group can be affected by it but condition may be fatal for infant, senior adults and person with low immunity or ill conditions due to other health disease.

So let’s understand in detail what is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is medical condition of lungs where air space of lungs is replaced by pus, blood cell and mucous which causes difficulty in breathing. It is an infection of lung or a part of lung. It can affect one lung or both or only one lobe.

Symptoms of pneumonia:

Initial symptoms of the disease always resemble with common cold or flu. As the infection progress to deeper tissues of lung, pneumonia symptoms become very specific like:

  • Cough- Pneumonia cough is green white blood mix sputum (phlegm).
  • Fever- Pneumonia fever fluctuates from high to moderate but it never goes below from 101F. As the condition worsens, fever can be high as 104F with chills and rigors.
  • Difficulty in breathing- Fast breathing or difficulty in breathing is always present in this disease. Whistling sound in breath is classical symptoms of chest congestion. It is caused by resonance from air due to less space in lungs.
  • Chest pain- Chest pain is always there in this condition. Pain would be worse with deep inhalation. This is known as pleuritic pain.
  • Dusky or purple or blue discoloration- Blue discoloration of lips, hands and legs are important sign in children and infant. Discoloration is generally not found in adult and if found it indicates very serious condition of patient.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Confusion

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What cause pneumonia:

It can be caused by various factors, like bacteria, virus, fungus, parasites, and others. Most of the time infection is usually viral or bacterial. It usually starts with the infection of throat and nose. From there, pathogen goes down to lower respiratory tract. As the infection progress down to alveoli of lung, pathogens start multiplication and proliferation. In response to infection, body’s immune system increases blood flow towards the infection suite. This causes the lung to fill up with mucous, white blood cells and fluid. Congestion in lungs interferes with normal air space which causes difficulty in breathing.

Types of pneumonia:

 On the basis of causative factors, it is of two types.

1.      Viral pneumonia-

It is more common and less severe condition of this disease. Symptoms of this gradually start with mild fever and running nose. It worsens as days pass. Symptoms of this type can be similar to common cold and flu, or it can be said common cold or flu can turn into viral pneumonia in person with weak immunity. This type is the most common in child from age 1 to 5 year.

2.      Bacterial pneumonia-

In this type, all 5 lobes of lungs are inflamed due to bacterial or viral infection.

It is the infection of lungs due to bacteria. Usually all healthy persons have some or other types of bacteria in nose and throat. Due to strong immunity they remain there silently and do not produce any kind of symptoms.

As the immunity goes down these bacteria can enter in lower respiratory tract and cause inflammatory reactions, which lead to production of pathogen mix mucus. Thus, it reduces air space.

There are lots of bacteria which can cause bacterial pneumonia, but most common is Streptococcus. Symptoms of this type are little but serious compared to viral pneumonia and usually there is sudden onset of symptoms with high grade fever, severe cough and chest congestions.

How do you get pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a contagious disease. It spreads through touch or indirect contact like using same towel or sitting near to infected person. Nose discharge or sputum of person has thousands of spores of bacteria, fungus, and virus. These pathogens spread through sneeze.

How to diagnose pneumonia?

  • First diagnosis of pneumonia is done through clinical examination. Your physician would do auscultation through stethoscope. Whistling sound during every breath is suggestive for lung congestion.
  • Blood examination- There would be an increase in white blood cells and E.S.R level.
  • Sputum examination.
  • Chest X Ray.

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How to treat pneumonia?

Treatment for pneumonia in adult and children is very different as this condition is not very serious for adults, but can be fatal to a child. The treatment depends upon severity of symptoms. General symptoms with good immune person can be treated at home only; where as severe pneumonia with weak child requires hospitalization.

1.Antibiotics- All cases of pneumonia need a complete course of antibiotics. Your physician may advise for sputum examination for diagnose of causative factor for the disease. Symptoms usually subside with two doses of antibiotics but it is always advisable to complete the course of antibiotic.

2. Anti-inflammatory and Antipyretic- Paracetamol or ibuprofen is the drug of choice for patient suffering from this. Syrup drops and tablets all form is available for these drugs. Doses of these drugs depend upon weight of patient so please consult the doctor before taking any medication.

3. Supportive care:

  • Hydrate yourself with sufficient water.
  • Take nasal decongestant.
  • Inhale hot vapour.
  • Take good nutritious diet.

All these play important role in treatment of pneumonia. Severe case may need hospitalization. Patient with severe nausea and vomiting cannot take oral medicine and children with severe chest congestion and blue discoloration need urgent medical care with I.V fluids and oxygen supply.


Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition Please Contact Us.

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