Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It is characterised by inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs. Though pneumonia can be treated effectively with antibiotics, late detection can prove to be fatal.
“Late detection of pneumonia can lead to severe complications and even death”- Dr. RAJASHEKAR MB, PULMONOLOGY, MBBS, MD, Apollo Clinic, Bellandur.
The causes of pneumonia are numerous and range from mild to severe but the most common cause is flu. The disease spreads when germs enter your lungs while breathing in:
- Bacteria – It is caused by Streptococcus pneumonia or pneumococcal bacteria. Bacterial infections are more severe than other types of pneumonia
- Viruses – Pneumonia caused by different viruses most commonly affects children
The symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on its cause, depending on whether it is caused by bacteria, fungus or virus. Some of the common symptoms easily diagnosed are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain that becomes worse when you sneeze or breathe
- Fever and chills
- Reduced appetite
- Haemoptysis (Blood tinged sputum)
After the symptoms are noticed, a doctor will listen to the patient’s lungs with a stethoscope to diagnose the ailment. If the patient does have pneumonia, the chest will make rumbling sounds when inhaling. If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms and need immediate care, visit your nearest Apollo Hospitals to get the required assistance.
Some other ways to diagnose pneumonia include:
- X-ray of the chest
- Blood tests to check the white blood cells count
- Sputum culture
- CT scan of the chest
Mild cases of pneumonia can be treated at home and do not require the patient to be hospitalised. And the condition is likely to improve within two weeks with some simple steps:
- Take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor (if it is a bacterial infection).
- As coughing helps in getting rid of mucous from the lungs, do not take cough syrups on your own without the doctor recommending it.
- Take lot of fluids.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep.
- Visit a hospital if the symptoms are severe and home care is not possible.