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Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by germs, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. You may cough, run a fever, and have hard time breathing. For most people, pneumonia can be treated at home. It often clears up in 2 to 3 weeks. Although different types of pneumonia tend to affect children in different age groups, pneumonia is most commonly caused by viruses.

Pneumonia tends to be more serious than bronchitis. Sometimes bronchitis and pneumonia occur together which is called broncho-pneumonia. You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work. You can also get it when you are in a hospital or nursing home.

Causes of Pneumonia
There are different causes of pneumonia:

  • By breathing: The tiny droplets get into the air when a person infected with these germs coughs or sneezes. The other person can get these germs by breathing in infected air.
  • Pneumonia is caused when bacteria or viruses that are normally present in the mouth, throat, or nose inadvertently enter the lung. A healthy person's nose and throat often contain bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia.
  • People with recent viral infections, lung disease, heart disease, and swallowing problems can easily get germs of pneumonia
  • Alcoholics, drug users, and those who have suffered a stroke or seizure are at higher risk for developing pneumonia than the general population.

Once organisms enter the lungs, they usually settle in the air sacs of the lung where they rapidly grow in number. This area of the lung then becomes filled with fluid and pus as the body attempts to fight off the infection.

Risk Factors of Pneumonia
Adults age 65 or older and very young children, whose immune systems aren't fully developed, are at increased risk of pneumonia. There are certain Risk factors of Pneumonia:

  • If you have certain diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cardiovascular disease, and Diabetes. 
  • If you Smoke, or abuse alcohol
  • If you are hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit. Pneumonia acquired in the hospital tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia. 
  • If you are exposed to certain chemicals or pollutants. Exposure to air pollution or toxic fumes can also contribute to lung inflammation, which makes it harder for the lungs to clear themselves. 
  • If you have had surgery or experienced a traumatic injury.


Signs & Symptoms of Pneumonia
Symptoms of pneumonia vary, depending on the age of the child and the cause of the pneumonia. Some common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Anxiety, stress and tension 
  • Chattering teeth
  • Chest pain 
  • Chills 
  • Cough 
  • Decreased activity 
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heartbeat. 
  • Feeling very tired or feeling very weak. 
  • Fever 
  • Loss of appetite or poor feeding 
  • Muscles retraction by breathing 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Vomiting 
  • Wheezing sounds while breathing

Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.

Diagnosis of Pneumonia

To diagnose pneumonia, the doctor begins with a medical history and physical examination. Doctor may perform several kinds of test. If you are normally well, but then develop recurrent bouts of pneumonia, it may be the first sign of a problem of your lung or immune system. Following tests may be advised if pneumonia recurs for no apparent reason.

Sputum Test: Sputum sample can be collected and examined under the microscope. If the pneumonia is caused by bacteria or fungi, the organisms can often be detected by this examination.

Blood Test: A blood test that measures white blood cell count (WBC) may be performed. An individual's white blood cell count can often give a hint as to the severity of the pneumonia and whether it is caused by bacteria or a virus.

Bronchoscopy is a procedure in which a thin, flexible, lighted viewing tube is inserted into the nose or mouth after a local anesthetic is administered. The breathing passages can then be directly examined by the doctor, and specimens from the infected part of the lung can be obtained.

Sometimes, fluid collects in the pleural space around the lung as a result of the inflammation from pneumonia. This fluid is called a pleural effusion. If the amount of this fluid that develops is large enough, it can be removed by inserting a needle into the chest cavity and withdrawing the fluid with a syringe in a procedure called a thoracentesis.


Preventions of Pneumonia
There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent getting pneumonia.

  • Stop smoking because smoking makes it more likely that you will get pneumonia. 
  • Avoid contact with people who have respiratory tract infections, such as colds and influenza. 
  • If you have not had measles or chickenpox, avoid contact with people who have these infections.
  • Wash your hands properly because hands are in almost constant contact with germs that can cause pneumonia. These germs enter your body when you touch your eyes or rub the inside of your nose. Washing your hands thoroughly and often can help reduce your risk.

Treatments of Pneumonia
In most cases, pneumonia can be treated with oral antibiotics given to your child at home. The type of antibiotic used depends on the type of pneumonia.

Sometimes oxygen and other supportive treatments are needed if you have severe pneumonia.

Serious Pneumonia can be life-threatening, go to your doctor right away if you feel symptoms of  Pneumonia like chest pain, fever of 102 F or higher along with chills and sweats - or if you suddenly feel worse after a cold or the flu.

Home Treatment of Pneumonia
The effect of Pneumonia can be decreased by using following home remedies:

  • Get plenty of rest and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. 
  • A tea made from fenugreek seeds will help the body to produce perspiration, dispel toxicity, and shorten the period of fever. 
  • A paste of garlic can be applied externally on the chest with beneficial results as it is an irritant and rubefacient.
  • An infusion of the Sesame seeds can be made by steeping 15 gm of seeds in 250 ml of water. This infusion, mixed with a tablespoon of linseed, a pinch of common salt, and a dessertspoon of honey, should be given in the treatment of this disease. 
  • The juice of carrots, in combination either with spinach juice, or beet and cucumber juices, has also been found useful in pneumonia. 
  • The pain of pneumonia can be relieved by rubbing oil of turpentine over the rib cage and wrapping warmed cotton wool over it.
  • Check your child's lips and fingernails to make sure that they are rosy and pink, not bluish or gray, which is a sign that your child's lungs are not getting enough oxygen.

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