Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to become inflamed and filled with pus, making it hard to breathe. It’s often caused by bacteria, but it can also be caused by a virus or fungus. If you think you have pneumonia, you should learn a few facts about this condition, and then make an appointment with your doctor so you can get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Signs of Pneumonia
Some of the most common signs of pneumonia include shortness of breath and a cough that often brings up mucus. You might also have chest pain, which may feel more severe when you cough or try to take a deep breath. It’s common to have a fever, chills, a fast heart rate and an overall feeling of weakness or fatigue as well. Other possible symptoms of pneumonia include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Risks of Pneumonia
Anyone can get pneumonia, but some people have a higher risk of developing this infection. For example, infants and senior citizens have a higher chance of getting pneumonia. But regardless of your age, if you’ve recently had a cold, the flu or surgery, your immune system may be compromised enough to increase your chance of getting this illness. The same is true if you have an autoimmune disorder, heart disease, diabetes, cerebral palsy or a chronic lung disease such as COPD. Smoking cigarettes also increases your chance of getting pneumonia.
Since the most common type of pneumonia is caused by bacteria, most patients are prescribed antibiotics when they go to the doctor with symptoms of this illness. This treatment should work within two to three days, providing relief within that time period. In the meantime, over-the-counter pain relievers, lots of fluids and rest are recommended to help the body heal. Sometimes pneumonia is caused by a virus or fungus, in which case an antiviral or antifungal medication is prescribed. When the case of pneumonia is severe, it may be necessary to go to the hospital for breathing treatments or oxygen therapy.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of pneumonia, make an appointment with your doctor today so you can begin treatment and start feeling better within days.