pneumonia A common and potentially life-threatening respiratory infection that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a variety of pathogens and appears in several types, each with its own unique characteristics. It is an inflammatory condition of the lungs in which pus, mucus and other fluids accumulate in the air sacs. These accumulations interfere with the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, causing severe respiratory distress. Pneumonia can affect people of all ages, but it is especially dangerous for young children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems.
In this regard, Dr. Vishal Sehgal, President of Portia Medical, said, “Pneumonia, a prevalent respiratory infection, is a significant concern, especially due to the current increase in associated risk factors and causes. In the context of festive fun, recent data suggests that cases of pneumonia have increased in India due to overeating and irregular sleep patterns, affecting the resilience of the immune system. Additionally, sudden weather fluctuations due to rising smog levels in Indian cities have contributed to respiratory vulnerabilities, increasing the risk of pneumonia.”
“Additionally, the increasing threat of Nipah virus has raised additional concerns, necessitating increased vigilance and preventive measures. Symptoms include prolonged fever, headache, sore throat, dry cough, green mucus or droplets If this occurs, the person should seek immediate medical attention. Blood, muscle pain, loss of appetite, weakness have been observed.”
Types of pneumonia:
Talking about the types of pneumonia, Dr. Bandana Mishra, Head of Department and Senior Consultant in the Department of Pulmonology at Sanar International Hospitals, mentioned the following:
- Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP):
Community-acquired pneumonia is one of the most common types and usually arises outside health care facilities. It can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Symptoms include high fever, cough, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common bacterial culprit in CAP.
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP):
Hospital-acquired pneumonia, also called nosocomial pneumonia, occurs during a hospital stay. Patients with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. HAP is often caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Preventive measures such as strict hygiene protocols are necessary to reduce the risk.
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP):
VAP is a subgroup of HAP that occurs in individuals who are on mechanical ventilation. The respiratory tract can allow pathogens to enter the lungs. Maintaining rigorous sterile techniques is important to prevent VAP in critical care settings.
Aspiration pneumonia is caused by inhaling foreign substances such as food, fluids or vomit into the lungs. This can happen when the gag reflex is impaired or due to excessive alcohol or drug abuse. People with neurological conditions, such as stroke victims, are at greater risk.
Atypical pneumonia is usually caused by pathogens other than the typical bacteria. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila are common culprits. Symptoms are often milder than typical pneumonia, and it is sometimes called “walking pneumonia”.
Fungal pneumonia is less common and often affects individuals with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS. Fungi such as Candida and Aspergillus can invade the lungs and cause serious infections.
Viral pneumonia is caused by various viruses, including influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19 virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and complications can be life-threatening.
Symptoms and treatment of pneumonia in children
Dr. Pradeep Suryavanshi, director of neonatology and pediatrics at Sahyadri Super Specialty Hospital, Pune, said, “Pneumonia in children is a respiratory illness that can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. To protect children’s well-being, parents and other caregivers need to be able to identify the symptoms and understand the treatments available. “Pneumonia in children can present with a variety of symptoms, and the severity can vary from one case to another.”
Common symptoms of pneumonia in children mentioned by them include:
- Children who have pneumonia may have a variety of symptoms, each varying in severity, including a high fever, which is often the first sign of the illness, and a chronic cough, which Appears later in the disease.
- In addition to difficulty breathing, breathing problems including rapid, shallow breathing are also common.
- Some babies may have chest pain or discomfort, especially when they take deep breaths, and may hear wheezing sounds when they breathe in, especially when they exhale.
- In extreme conditions, the skin around the lips or fingers may turn blue due to low oxygen levels.
- Additionally, children who have pneumonia may have unusual tiredness, lethargic behavior, and loss of appetite.
- In addition to respiratory problems, gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting or diarrhea, may also occur.
- It is important to understand that the way these symptoms manifest may vary depending on the child’s age and the particular cause, underscoring the importance of receiving careful, tailored medical care.
The treatment options they suggest are:
- Antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia: If the pneumonia is bacterial in origin, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. It is necessary to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if the child’s condition improves before the medicine is finished.
- Supportive care: Children with pneumonia may need supportive treatment, such as fever-reducing medications and adequate hydration, regardless of the underlying cause. To maintain the oxygen level in the blood at an adequate level, oxygen therapy may be required in some situations.
- Hospitalization: Hospitalization may be necessary in severe cases of pneumonia, especially if the child has trouble breathing, a high temperature, or major difficulty breathing. Hospitalization may result in careful monitoring, as well as oxygen treatment and intravenous antibiotics as needed.
- Management of viral pneumonia: The primary goal of therapy for pneumonia brought on by viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza is to control symptoms. In some situations, particularly severe influenza infection, antiviral medications may be considered.
Treatment of pneumonia:
Dr. Vishal Sehgal said, “Treatment of pneumonia may include cough suppressants, antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia and fever-reducing medications, and in severe cases, hospitalization for additional support such as oxygen and breathing therapy.” “As the need for effective management and relief methods has intensified, the role of home health care and special interventions such as physiotherapy has gained prominence in ensuring comprehensive recovery of pneumonia patients.”
“Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of pneumonia by promoting mucus clearance, increasing respiratory function to prevent respiratory failure, and improving muscle strength and endurance through mobility exercises. Techniques employed in pneumonia physiotherapy include airway clearance, Osteopathic manipulative treatments, including chest physiotherapy for active cycles, include “breathing techniques and instrumental methods such as non-invasive ventilation and high-frequency chest wall oscillation to facilitate airway clearance,” he said. And respiratory support can be provided.”
Measures to prevent pneumonia in children and elderly
Dr Ashok K Rajput, senior consultant in pulmonology and sleep medicine at CK Birla Hospital(R), Delhi, said, “Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that can be life-threatening, especially for children and older adults. It is usually caused by bacteria or viruses and can spread through coughing and sneezing. Prevention strategies include vaccination against common pneumonia-causing agents such as flu, pneumococcus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Regularly washing hands, maintaining distance from sick individuals, and practicing respiratory hygiene by covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing contribute to reducing transmission. It is important for smokers to quit because smoking weakens the immune system of the lungs. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet and regular exercise boosts the immune system, thereby reducing the chances of infection.”
“Parents can protect babies by breastfeeding to enhance immune system development, avoiding exposure to smoke, and ensuring timely vaccinations. Older adults should carefully manage chronic health conditions, as asthma and Conditions like diabetes increase the risk of pneumonia. Adequate sleep supports the body. Infection-fighting mechanisms and staying hydrated help clear mucus from the lungs. Overall, following these preventive measures can help vulnerable populations avoid pneumonia. Makes a significant contribution to saving.”
(Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified person regarding any medical condition. healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding.)
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