What Is Pneumonia? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Pneumonia is a respiratory system disease that "affects and inflames the lungs or part of the lungs, such as the alveoli".

As a result of this condition, the pulmonary alveoli fill with fluid or pus.

What Causes Pneumonia?

Pneumonia usually occurs in children under 5 years of age or in adults over 65 years of age. However, people with chronic respiratory problems are more likely to get it, also those with diabetes or kidney disease.

Now that the disease caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus has erupted with such force in the world, it has been made public as in the most serious stages, Covid-19 can cause pneumonia and make those affected require the administration of oxygen or mechanical ventilation.

Regarding the causes that originate it, it could be said that they develop when bacterial, viral or fungal infections invade the lung tissue, through the nose, pharynx or through the bloodstream.

In this sense, bacteria represent the most common cause of pneumonia, particularly the bacteria known as pneumococcus. On the other hand, flu, whooping cough, measles, or chickenpox viruses can cause it.

Tobacco damages the respiratory defenses and increases the risk of suffering from pneumonia by four.

Symptoms of pneumonia:

Symptoms can vary depending on the bacteria or virus that causes it and can be moderate or severe. Hence, there are at least two groups of pneumonia, the typical and the atypical.

Most of the time there are characteristics of both groups, the most obvious signs being the following:

  • Cough with purulent expectancy and sometimes with blood.
  • Chest pain
  • Fever with chills
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite and fatigue.
  • Muscle pains.
  • Sweating

Treatment for Pneumonia

Treatment for pneumonia includes both curing the infection and preventive care for possible respiratory complications.

Decisions regarding the appropriate medical regimen to treat pneumonia are determined according to the risk presented by the patient and the severity of his symptoms, thus establishing whether he will require outpatient treatment, or if he needs hospitalization.

In general, antibiotics are prescribed as chemical substances produced by bacteria and fungi, capable of inhibiting their development or eliminating them.

The most frequently used to treat pneumonia are:

  • Penicillins and beta-lactam antibiotics, such as amoxicillin.
  • Quinolones, synthetic chemotherapeutic agents, such as levofloxacin or moxifloxacin.
  • Macrolide antibiotics, such as azithromycin and clarithromycin.

Along the same lines, when there are suspicions of viral pneumonia or flu caused by viruses that have the potential to cause it, the use of antivirals is recommended, such as:

  • Oseltamivir.
  • Zanamivir.

In addition, to alleviate the symptoms of accumulation of secretions and general discomfort in the body, it is usually used:

  • Corticosteroids such as Prednisone.
  • Decongestants such as the mucolytic Ambroxol Cinfa.
  • Analgesics, such as dipyrone or paracetamol, in presentations such as Resfriol, which calms runny nose, headache and fever.

Finally, for some cases of fungal pneumonia, the use of antifungal agents is suggested. However, if there are very serious signs or there is a risk of complications, it may be best to hospitalize for additional treatments.

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