What is Pneumonia? All You Need To Know

What is pneumonia? How does pneumonia influence our health state? Health is wealth, rightly said, but when one’s health is impaired by the presence of a disease, it causes discomfort and dysfunction in the person’s body. A disease can either be physical or psychological.

Pneumonia is known to be a common disease that can be acute or chronic depending on its severity. Caused by viruses, bacteria, or other or sometimes by physical or chemical irritants.

 

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a form of Acute Respiratory Tract Infection (ARTI) that affects the lungs. The lungs are made of air sacs known as alveoli. During breathing, the alveoli are filled with air, but when an individual suffers from pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, making inhalation painful and prevents much intake of oxygen

This is a common disease that is found worldwide, it affects both children and adults but it’s widespread mostly in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Pneumonia

 

Causes of Pneumonia?

Bacteria and viruses are the main causes of pneumonia. Pneumonia causing germs can settle in the alveoli and replicate after taken in via breathing

Different types of pneumonia lead to various causes such as:

  • Bacterial Pneumonia: the most common cause is the bacterium, streptococcus pneumonia, and other various kinds of bacteria
  • Fungal pneumonia: the outcome of this type of pneumonia is from a condition such as a valley fever caused by the cocci diodes fungus.
  • Viral pneumonia: this results from the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and influenza types A and B, also known as Flu
  • Other types are; Aspiration Pneumonia caused by inhalation of food, liquids, or stomach contents into the lungs; Hospital Acquired pneumonia caused by the attachment of patients to life devices like respirator or breathing machines

In addition, in infants infected with HIV, pneumocystis jiroveci is one of the most common causes of pneumonia, which is responsible for pneumonia mortality rate in HIV-infected infants.

 

 

How do you get of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can readily be transmitted in many ways.

Viruses and bacteria commonly found in the child’s nose or throat, when breathe in can affect the lungs. They can also be transmitted via airborne droplets from sneezing or coughing.

Furthermore, pneumonia can also be spread through blood especially during childbirth and immediately after birth. The evaluation must be carried out to know ways of transmission to aid in the prevention and treatment of pneumonia.

 

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Common indications of pneumonia include;

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Cyanosis
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortage of breath
  • Delirium (mostly occurs in adults)
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and emesis
  • Shaking chills
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Headache

Symptoms of Pneumonia in children

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing
  • Fretfulness
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Fever

 

How to Treat Pneumonia

Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics.

For children;

The four types of antibiotic required for the treatment of pneumonia are;

  • Co-trimoxazole
  • Amoxicillin
  • Macrolides
  • Cephalosporin

The above antibiotics are needed for their essential and effectiveness and also for the reduction of antimicrobial resistance and virulence. Administration of a stat dose medicine may improve the result of pneumonia.

For the treatment of non-severe pneumonia in children, oral amoxicillin is administered. For the treatment of severe pneumonia, gentamicin and ampicillin is administered.

Amoxicillin prescribed to be taken twice daily for three days as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)

For adults;

Solid evidence-based recommendations for the choice of antibiotics in adults is not achieved due to limited study reviews, however, studies on the comparative effectiveness of antibiotics in Community-acquired Pneumonia (CAP) in adults indicated that Streptococcus pneumoniae was the main causative organism showing about 56% of positive cultures

 

Risk Factors

Age, pre-existing illnesses, environmental factors, and much more increases an individual susceptibility to pneumonia:

  • People aged under 5 years or over 65 years
  • Smoking of tobacco, large consumption of alcohol
  • A fundamental condition such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, or conditions that affect the kidney, heart, or liver
  • Malnutrition
  • Impaired immune system due to AIDS, HIV, or cancer
  • Indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating with biomass fuels.
  • Parental smoking
  • Living in congested homes

 

How to Prevent Pneumonia

Pneumonia with vaccinations, hand washing with soaps, HIV prevention, and co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for HIV infected and exposed children are employed for its prevention.

Other preventive measures to be taken are as follows;

  1. Immunization
  2. Adequate nutrition
  3. Exclusive breastfeeding (in children)
  4. Provision 0f affordable clean indoor stores
  5. Good hygiene etc.

 

Diagnosis

Pneumonia can be detected in many different ways. The symptoms are the most essential means through which pneumonia can be detected, but for further and proper clarity other physical examinations or ordering diagnostics must be employed.

Although symptoms may differ, they often overlap, which can make it difficult to detect the causative organism by symptoms alone. However, laboratory tests including chest x-rays and cell cultures can be carried out to look for the pathogenic bacteria in the infected part of the body.

There should be a combination of clinical, radiological, and laboratory to increase the propensity for correct diagnosis.

 

N/B: Notwithstanding, the aforementioned should not be used as a unique criterion.

The certain physical examination carried out by a doctor are as follows;

  • Chest X-rays: This is carried out to detect a pneumonia diagnosis around the chest and shows the affected areas of the lungs.
  • Blood test: The disease–fighting cells in the body otherwise called white blood cell count is measured. It ascertains the severity of the infections, whether a bacterium, virus, or fungus is likely the cause.
  • Blood culture: Blood culture shows whether the bacteria, fungi, or virus from the affected lungs have circulated into the bloodstream.
  • CT scan: This computed tomography scan of the chest may give more information in detail.
  • Sputum analysis: A coughed-up matter, exported from the mouth is often used to determine the causative organism of pneumonia.
  • Bronchoscopy: This is a scientific discipline devoted to bronchoscopes. A bronchoscope is a thin, flexible, and lighted tube. It is passed down into the lungs which help the doctor to evaluate the affected parts of the lungs and airways specifically.
  • Arterial Blood Gas (ABG): This kind of blood test provides a more correct reading of the body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and other related factors.

In resource-rich settings, most of the tests are carried out by the health care providers and they require proper use of health facilities and serves patients admitted to hospitals.

Moreso, the cause of the diagnostic equipment and lack of health facilities present an impediment in resource-poor settings. Therefore, health care providers must depend on observable symptoms–based clinical IMCI guidelines.

 

Drug Regimen (Treatment and dosage forms)

 

Treatment – Amoxicillin

  • Dosage – 250mg, 500mg
  • Form – Tablets

Treatment – Ampicillin

  • Dosage –  500mg, 1g
  • Form – Powder for injection

Treatment – Ceftriaxone

  • Dosage –  250mg, 1g
  • Form – Powder for injection

Treatment – Gentamicin

  • Dosage –  20mg/ml, 40mg/ml
  • Form – Injection

Treatment – Procaine benzyl penicillin

  • Dosage – 1g, 3g
  • Form – Powder for injection

Treatment – Oxygen

  • Dosage –
  • Form – Medicinal gas

 

Conclusion

Pneumonia is a common disease that can affect anyone depending on the level of exposure to the causative agents. Know your status whenever you feel you have the symptoms because Health is Wealth.

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