Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs often caused by an infection. Infection can be viral, bacterial or due to other microorganisms. Pneumonia can be also due to aspiration or inhalation of food, chemicals or due to other causes.
Most common symptoms are cough (dry or with a phlegm), fever, chills and difficulty breathing. In young children, elderly or people with health conditions it can be a serious illness.
Pneumonia is usually diagnosed by taking history, listening to the lungs by a stethoscope and taking X-ray of the chest. Blood test and sputum cultures sometimes used too.
Bacterial pneumonias are treated with antibiotics (medications that kill bacteria). Antibiotics can be taken at home by mouth or if person is very sick and needs to be in the hospital, antibiotics can be administered by intravenous or intramuscular injections.
Pneumonia caused by “the flu” virus is treated by medications for influenza. Sometimes, if pneumonia casing a lot of inflammation like COVID pneumonia, corticosteroids are used too.
When people recover from pneumonia, they may still feel weak and winded for a few weeks. It is important to stay hydrated and eat well to help body fight pneumonia. Vaccination for people who need pneumonia vaccine is very important to prevent pneumonia. Quitting smoking also benefits to keep lungs healthy.