Guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Pneumonia

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Pneumonia is more common in children during the winter. Pneumonia accounts for 14% of all under-five deaths worldwide. According to the latest data for 2019, more than 7 lakh children lost their lives due to pneumonia worldwide. If you are aware of this in advance, you can protect your child from getting pneumonia.

Guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Pneumonia
Guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Pneumonia


What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a type of lung inflammation. This inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection in the alveoli, or small air sacs, of our lungs. The incidence of this disease is more common among children and the elderly, especially in the winter. The mortality rate among those affected is about 14–30%. So we need to know how to stay away from this disease, prevent it, and cure it quickly.


What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

Knowing the symptoms of any disease makes it much easier to take timely action. The same applies to pneumonia. These symptoms may appear gradually in the body after an infection.

  • Cough accompanied by yellow or green mucus (phlegm).
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Feeling of chest pain while breathing or coughing.
  • Rumbling in the chest while breathing.
  • Fever with a high body temperature (other than 103 F or 39.4 C).
  • Experiencing chest pain.
  • Pain was felt all over the body.
  • Aversion to food.
  • Coughing for more than 3 consecutive weeks.
  • Bleeding with a cough.
  • Pale blue veins appear.
A doctor should be contacted only if there are more than one of these symptoms. The most common symptoms of pneumonia are cough (79–91%), fever (71–75%), and fatigue (90%).

What is the Cause of Pneumonia?

Various bacteria can cause pneumonia. Prominent among them are air-borne bacteria and viruses. Our body's natural immune system usually protects us from these germs. But if our immune system is weakened for some reason, infection occurs. As a result, the lungs swell and produce mucus. The main causative agents of pneumonia:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria cause about 50 percent of pneumonias. Infection with these bacteria can be direct. Again, after the common cold and flu, this type of bacteria can take up residence in the body.
  • Other pneumonia-causing bacteria are Haemophilus influenzae, Chlamydophilia pneumoniae, Lazioella nymphaea, and Moraxella catarrhalis. Heavy drinkers are more likely to contract pneumonia bacteria.
  • Bacteria such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae can also cause lung infections.
  • Viruses usually cause about one-third of pneumonia infections. Most pneumonia-causing viruses are rhinovirus, coronavirus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, etc. Organ transplants and weakened immunity can lead to viral pneumonia.
  • The rate of fungal pneumonia is extremely low. The names of such fungi are Histoplasm capsulatum, Blastomyces, Cryptococcus neoformans, etc. Pneumonia infection is caused by fungi due to weak immunity.
  • Pneumonia can also be caused by various parasites, like Taxoplasma gondii, Strongyloides stercoralis, Ascaris lambricides, etc.

Common Illnesses That Can Cause Pneumonia

  • Common cold
  • Covid-19
  • Influenza
  • Human parainfluenza
  • Pneumococcal disease
Bacterial pneumonia infection can also spread from hospitals and health care facilities. In many cases, patients come for treatment of other diseases and get pneumonia.

Mode of Transmission of Pneumonia:

Mostly, this illness affects the upper respiratory tract. This respiratory system component shields the lungs and airways against infections. The afflicted upper respiratory tract has a weakened immune system. The virus gradually moves from the opposite side to the lower respiratory system. The patient's immunity and the pathogen's virulence determine the extent of the pneumonia infection. When an infected patient coughs or sneezes, droplets of infectious fluid are released into the air from their mouth and nose. The pathogen can enter the body of another person if they inhale tainted air. People with pneumonia are therefore asked to keep their mouths and noses covered.


Pneumonia Duration:

Pneumonia usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks after a full infection.


Pneumonia Healing Period:

Pneumonia takes 2 to 3 weeks to heal completely if treated at the right time and properly. But if the patient's condition is bad, then recovery may take longer than this.

Older people (especially those over sixty-five) and those with heart, lung, kidney, or neurological impairment take longer to recover.  Pneumonia-related complications may occur if the patient has diabetes. Certain diseases (such as cancer and HIV) weaken immunity. Such patients take longer to recover from pneumonia.


Methods of Testing for Pneumonia

To identify a pneumonia infection and assess its severity, doctors prescribe specific laboratory tests. For example,

  • Blood culture
  • Blood count
  • Chest X-ray
  • Chest scan
  • Sputum culture

Treatment of Pneumonia

Treatment of common pneumonia is aimed at controlling the severity of the inflammation in the lungs. It can be cured at home. If the severity of the disease increases, the doctors ask the patient to be admitted to the hospital. The main treatment method is a shot.

  • Application of antibiotics
  • Use of cough medicine
  • Control of the fever level
  • Sustaining the rate of respiration. If necessary, give oxygen.

Ways to Prevent Pneumonia

Effective ways to prevent pneumonia are:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Giving flu vaccines to adults and children.
  • Can administer or receive vaccines.
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a mask in case of pneumonia.
  • Avoid smoke and dust.
  • Nutritious eating habits.

Remedies for Pneumonia in Children:

Pneumonia can be serious for babies under 2 months of age. In such cases, if the symptoms of pneumonia appear, the patient needs to be admitted to the hospital immediately. Apart from this, other duties are:

  • Timely vaccination of children against pneumococcal, measles, and whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. It increases the immunity of children.

  • Give soupy drinks if pneumonia is diagnosed. It maintains the water supply in the body.

  • Ask doctors about cough medicine.

  • Feed the child food and medicine at the right time.

  • Apply hot compress.

  • Taking hot salt water vapors.

Food List for Pneumonia Patients

Eating a well-balanced diet is crucial for preventing pneumonia. The body needs additional energy. Thus, the list of foods to eat is as follows:

  • Easily digestible carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
  • Warm milk
  • Buttermilk or whey, fresh juice, and coconut water.
  • Foods like paneer, dal, and lemon.
  • Green vegetables.
  • Hot soup.
  • Probiotic foods like sour yogurt.

What Foods Should be Avoided if You have Pneumonia?

  • Cold drinks
  • Cold food
  • Excess salt in food
  • Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, pneumonia is not deadly, provided certain measures are followed. Elderly people and children require special attention. It is more common to get pneumonia during the dry winter months. Thus, maintaining a moist airway throughout this period is crucial. It can prevent respiratory tract infections. Know about this disease and inform people. Consult a doctor if necessary.



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