Pneumonia is one of the deadliest diseases that mainly affect lungs. Inflammation of lungs in pneumonia is generally caused due to infection by bacteria, virus or fungi that primarily involves alveoli, the air sacs of lungs.
Mortality rates due to pneumonia are high in India and according to WHO statistic for 2015 India is top in child death it is estimated that childhood pneumonia accounts 2.9 7 lack deaths in children aged less than 5 years. Each year World Pneumonia Day is observed on 12 November, to create awareness and support to eliminate pneumonia worldwide and this year theme for World Pneumonia Day 2016 is “Every breath counts, Stop pneumonia now”.
Risk factors associated with pneumonia:
- Underdeveloped immune system
- Weak immune system in older age (above 60), Heart disease, diabetes, asthma / Immune system compromised or suppressed due to certain diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer or organ transplant
- Damaged lungs more vulnerable to infection, damage generally caused by inhaling dust, chemicals, toxic fumes, air pollution and due to smoking
- Acquiring pneumonia due to hospitalization, In prolonged hospitalization, lot of bed rest, lying on the bed or use of ventilators for an extended period of time allow mucus to gather in lungs resulting in trapping and growth of germs
- Physical examination of chest
- Chest X-ray to determine the location and extent of infection
- Blood and Sputum test is used to confirm pneumonia and to identify causal organism
- Pulse oximetry for measuring the level of oxygen in blood
- Pleural fluid culture to determine the type of infection
Treatment options for pneumonia
Medications used to treat pneumonia depend on whether bacteria, fungus or virus is a causative organism. For bacterial and fungal infections antibacterial and antifungal drugs are administered to treat pneumonia and symptoms improve within few days to several weeks.
If pneumonia is due to viral infection than over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as fever reducers or pain relievers are administered to lower the temperature and relieve the pain.
Sometimes treatment becomes complicated when bacterial infections spread into the blood stream or in pleural effusion when fluid builds up between lungs and wall of chest making breathing difficult. The tube is inserted between lungs and chest wall to remove fluid followed by antibiotics.
Getting diagnosed earlier can help staying healthier even if you have pneumonia