COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, which can spread to the lungs, and apart from other respiratory conditions, it can cause pneumonia. Read here to know the causes, symptoms, and management.
In COVID-19 pneumonia, the patient has little or no sputum production
- Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have
- Keep the body hydrated with fluids as this helps release secretions
- Drink hot drinks, take steam baths, and use a humidifier to open your airways
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection affecting the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits the supply of oxygen. It can be caused by fungal, viral or bacterial infections.
Symptoms of pneumonia range from mild to life-threatening, and they can occur
- Cough that produces mucus
- Fever, followed by sweating and chills
- Shortness of breath, frequent panting even after doing basic activities
- Chest pain that gets worse when breathing and coughing
- Nausea and vomiting, followed by loss of appetite
- Tips to manage pneumonia and prevent it from getting worse
Also read: Nutritionist Gives Diet Advice to Manage Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, your health, your age, and your medical condition. The goal of treatment is to cure the infection and prevent complications.
If the pneumonia is caused by bacteria, antibiotic treatment is prescribed, which you must follow closely. On the other hand, if you are suffering from viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, however, symptom management and adequate bed rest are all that is needed.
Whenever you have symptoms of pneumonia, it is essential to see a doctor for blood work with proper evaluation. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may then indicate whether the patient requires hospitalization. The condition can be managed at home with medication.
Although a medical consultation is essential, pneumonia can be managed at home with prescribed medication:
- Keep your fever under control – medication helps to congratulate it
- Keep the body hydrated with fluids as this helps loosen secretions and bring phlegm up.
- Coughing is your body’s way of getting rid of an infection. Therefore, consult a doctor before taking any medication to stop it.
- Drink hot drinks, take steam baths, and use a humidifier to help open your airways and make breathing easier
- Stay away from any type of smoke so that the lungs can heal. This includes either quitting smoking on your own or refraining from being a passive smoker.
- Get adequate rest, don’t physically strain
- For severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization, you will be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy and other supports for breathing difficulties.
Pneumonia and its relationship to COVID 19
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, which can spread to the lungs, and apart from other respiratory conditions, it can cause pneumonia. The virus can travel through the airways to a person’s lungs. This causes inflammation leading to swelling of the gas exchange membranes and a buildup of fluid which, as it progresses, limits a person’s ability to absorb oxygen. While most people with mild symptoms of COVID-19 recover, some develop severe pneumonia that does not respond well to treatment. Continued oxygen deprivation in the body can damage other organs, causing kidney failure, heart failure, and other life-threatening conditions. Most of the time, severe cases of COVID-19 manifest as pneumonia, with the exception of a few mild to moderate cases which can be easily managed with supportive care.
Compared with usual pneumonia, in COVID-19 pneumonia, the patient has little or no sputum production, and oxygen levels may drop more quickly.
Who is at risk?
People with conditions that weaken the lungs or the immune system are more vulnerable to COVID-19 pneumonia. Chronic health problems like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease or love affairs, respiratory disorders are key factors that can make COVID 19 infection worse.
Its treatment and management
Since no specific drugs are available for the treatment of COVID-19, it is treated with supportive care, oxygen assistance, and a ventilator for critically ill patients.
(Dr Nikhil Modi, Senior Consultant, Respiratory, Intensive Care & Sleep Disorders, Intensive Care Institutes, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi)
Disclaimer: This content, including the tips, provides generic information only. It does not in any way replace qualified medical advice. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.