Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs. It is most often caused by bacteria, especially Streptococcus pneumoniae, but it can also be caused by a viral or fungal infection. Pneumonia makes you cough and has difficulty breathing.
Serious and life-threatening complications from pneumonia are possible, including difficulty breathing, respiratory failure, and sepsis. It can strike anyone, at any age, and can pose a serious risk to infants, young children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and smokers.
Acute bronchitis – an infection of the airways that lead to the lungs – is sometimes diagnosed as pneumonia, but a chest x-ray can help distinguish the two.
What is foot pneumonia?
“Walking pneumonia” is essentially a non-medical term for a mild case of the disease – when patients are not feeling well, but are not sick enough to stay bedridden at home or be hospitalized. They go for a walk and go about their daily activities.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia?
The most common signs are a cough, sometimes accompanied by greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus; fever (in bacterial pneumonia, your temperature may reach 105 degrees); chills and shortness of breath.
Other symptoms include chest pain that gets worse when you take a deep breath or cough; headache; excessive sweating and fatigue.
Is pneumonia contagious?
The bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia are contagious, but pneumonia itself is notNBC medical correspondent Dr Natalie Azar said.
The disease can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or even breathing, notes the American Lung Association.
How long does pneumonia last?
Most healthy people recover from pneumonia within one to three weeks, but elderly patients may need longer treatment, according to the American Lung Association.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia the patient is suffering from. Medications include antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and oxygen to increase oxygen in the blood.
There is a vaccine designed to protect people over 65 from the streptococcal bacteria that cause pneumonia, but many other bacteria, from Staphylococcus to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, can cause pneumonia.