What are the symptoms of pneumonia

pneumonia

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the alveoli - thousands of small sacs that are important for the functioning of the lungs. It can be triggered by viruses, bacteria or other infectious causes.

The main symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can start suddenly or as a result of another illness, such as a cold or flu. Drugs used to treat pneumonia target the cause of the infection.

Causes of Pneumonia

People at increased risk of developing pneumonia are pregnant women, people over 65 years of age, or who have other medical conditions. Some diseases, especially lung and immune system diseases, make people more susceptible to pneumonia and increase the risk of developing it more than once.

Hospitalization increases the risk of developing pneumonia. Viruses are often the cause of pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is rare and other causes are even rarer.

What are the signs of pneumonia?

Typical complaints are:

  • Fever,
  • To cough,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • a wheezing sound and
  • Chest pain.

Symptoms are caused by an infection and inflammation of the lungs, which causes fluid to build up in the alveoli. These symptoms can appear suddenly or as a result of another illness, such as a cold or flu.

If you are unsure whether these symptoms apply to you, start a symptom analysis.

Investigation and diagnosis

The diagnosis is made by a doctor who will evaluate symptoms, examine the person, and test the sputum (mucus coughed up from the airways) for viruses, bacteria, and other causes. A chest x-ray is also often taken to help make the diagnosis.

How is pneumonia treated?

The cause of the infection should be clarified by a doctor before starting therapy. Depending on the cause and severity of symptoms, a doctor may prescribe medication. These can be antibiotics or drugs that fight viruses.

Patients with severe pneumonia may need to be hospitalized to observe the recovery process and, if necessary, to initiate oxygen therapy.

What is the prognosis for pneumonia?

People who are otherwise fine will in most cases recover without special treatment. If the pneumonia is caused by typical bacteria, it will respond well to antibiotics.

As a rule, those affected recover well from uncomplicated pneumonia and no persistent lung changes develop. People older than 65 or who have other illnesses may recover more slowly and have a higher risk of developing pneumonia again. You are also at an increased risk of complications.

Can you prevent pneumonia?

Measures for Stop the spread of colds and flu in home and public settings can help prevent pneumonia in some cases. Vaccinations can prevent pneumonia caused by a viral or bacterial infection, especially in people with other illnesses.