Pneumonia is an infection which effects in one or both the lungs. It can be caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Pneumonia causes inflammation in your lung’s air sacs, or alveoli. The alveoli fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.
Pneumonia can make a person very sick or even cause death. Although the disease can occur in young and healthy people, it is most dangerous for older adults, babies, and people with other diseases or impaired immune systems.
What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?
Symptoms of pneumonia will be range from mild to life-threatening. The severity of pneumonia usually depends on:
- The cause of inflammation
- The type of organism causing the infection
- General health
The general symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop quickly and may include:
- Chest pain
- Shaking chills
- Dry cough
- Muscle aches
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
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Types and Causes of Pneumonia:
The major types of pneumonia are:
Bacterial pneumonia can affect anyone at any age. It can be developed on its own or after a serious cold or flu. The most common cause of the bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Bacterial pneumonia is caused by Chlamydophila pneumonia or Legionella pneumophila. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is sometimes seen in those who have weak immune systems due to illnesses like AIDS or cancer.
In most of the cases, respiratory viruses can cause pneumonia, especially in the young children and for elderly. Pneumonia is usually not serious and lasts a short time. However, flu virus can cause the viral pneumonia which to be severe or fatal. It’s especially harmful to the pregnant women or individuals with heart or lung issues. Invading bacteria can cause complications with viral pneumonia.
Mycoplasma organisms are not like viruses or bacteria, but they have traits common to both. They are the smallest agents of disease that affect humans. Mycoplasmas generally it can be caused by mild cases of pneumonia, mostly it happens in older children and young adults.
There are two available vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease (the bacterial infection that is the most common cause of pneumonia):
- pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar)
- pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax)
Prevnar is administered as a part of normal infant immunization procedure and it is recommended for the children less than 2 years of age or between 2 and 4 years with certain medical conditions.
Pneumovax is provided for the adults who are at an increased risk of developing the pneumococcal pneumonia, such as older adults, people with diabetes, those with chronic heart, lung, or kidney diseases, alcoholics, smokers, and those are without a spleen. The pneumonia vaccine may not completely prevent older adults from getting pneumonia, but it can reduce the severity of any future pneumonia cases.