Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs resulting in difficulty breathing, fever and other signs and symptoms.
It is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi and can affect people of all ages. Pneumonia prevention, symptoms and treatment must be addressed correctly to avoid serious health issues.
What Are the Risk Factors for Pneumonia?
There are a variety of risk factors that can lead to pneumonia, including:
- Age – children younger than 2 and adults 65 or older are more likely to get pneumonia
- Asthma and other lung diseases
- Low immunity – such as from HIV or cancer
- Underlying medical conditions – such as COPD or heart failure
- Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins
What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?
The most common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Coughing, often with phlegm or mucus
- Fever and chills
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest pain that worsens when you take a deep breath
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Confusion – especially in older adults
How to Prevent Pneumonia
The best way to prevent pneumonia is to maintain good health and a healthy immune system by following these steps:
- Wash your hands often
- Get vaccinated, including the pneumococcal vaccine
- Manage any underlying medical conditions
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Stay up to date on your medical care
- Avoid contact with anyone who has a cold or the flu
- Avoid contact with anyone who may have been exposed to pneumonia
Depending on the severity of the infection, treatment may include antibiotics, antiviral medications, oxygen therapy, or hospitalization. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and to complete the full course of medication prescribed. Pneumonia treatment must also include adequate rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding any contact with people who may be infected with the disease.
When it comes to pneumonia prevention, symptoms, and treatment, it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent and treat this potentially serious disease. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your physician immediately to get tested and treated.
By following these steps and speaking with your doctor, you can help ensure a healthy and happy lifestyle.