is an infection of the lungs.
It can affect anyone at any time, and often follows a cold
more likely to occur in infants, young children, the elderly
or those with an impaired or weakened immune system and can
be deadly if not treated.
can affect just one lung or both. When pneumonia is referred
to as lobar pneumonia it means that a section or lobe of a
lung has been infected.
Bronchial pneumonia affects patches
in both lungs. There are several causes of pneumonia, and
the symptoms may range from mild to severe.
is the most common cause of pneumonia, followed by viruses
that are responsible for the flu and the common cold. Fungal
infections can also lead to pneumonia, although these are
more commonly seen in those with an impaired immune system.
of pneumonia may vary depending upon the type and severity
of the infection. Symptoms typically include fever, headache,
cough, chills, shortness of breath, chest
pain especially upon taking a deep breath, fatigue and
who have pneumonia may not seek immediate medical care because
they often assume that they just have the flu and will be
fine in a few days.
The term "walking pneumonia"
refers people who continue to function as if it were a bad
cold, only to seek medical attention when the condition worsens.
is made through physical examination, chest x-ray, blood and
Physicians often suspect pneumonia when they
listen to the lungs through a stethoscope and can hear a crackling
sound in the lungs. Tests are usually ordered thereafter to
confirm the presence of pneumonia.
for pneumonia depends on the type and severity of the condition.
Pneumonia can usually be treated at home but in some cases
hospitalization may be required. Bacterial pneumonia is treated
with antibiotics. Pneumonia caused by a virus may be treated
with an antiviral medication. Medications can also be taken
for fever and pain relief. With proper treatment and care,
pneumonia begins to resolve within a few days to a week given
the patient is given adequate fluids and plenty of bed rest.
More about pneumonia around the Web:
- Merck Manual - Facts & information on causes,
symptoms and treatment, with focus on how pneumonia is acquired
in the hospital and within the community and by those with
compromised immune systems.
- KidsHealth.org - Parent guide to symptoms and treatment,
when to call a doctor, discussions on pneumonia vaccines for
chronic lung or asthma conditions, and related feature articles
and resources to more information.