Pneumonia may be defined as an inflammation of the lung parenchyma. Most cases of pneumonia is a result of infection due to bacteria or viruses. It could also happen if a person inhales harmful chemicals, if there is trauma on the chest wall or through other infectious agents such as rickettes, fungi and yeasts. In particular Bacterial pneumonia is a result of a pathogenic infection in the lungs and may present as a primary disease process in the individual who is already incapacitated or weak. Bacterial pneumonia can be further classified into community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) or institutional-acquired pneumonia (IAP). The effects of the bacterial pneumonia are usually:
- Shortness of breath, and
- Chest pain
Causes of bacterial pneumonia
- Most pneumonia’s are caused by a bacteria or virus. Pneumonia’s can happen at any age but certain age groups are more prone to this infection.
- Most commonly causing bacterial pneumonia is a type of bacteria known as streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, Chlamydia trachomati and mycoplasma pneumoniae are another major bacterium that can cause pneumonia.
- Inhalation of toxic materials can injure the lungs and cause chemical pneumonia.
- Fungi can cause pneumonia too.
- The commonest of all pneumonia is to breathe infected air droplets from someone who is already suffering from pneumonia.
- Inhaling air in an air-conditioned room where the air conditioner is improperly cleaned may also lead to pneumonia.
- Pneumonia is also spread through an infection somewhere else in your body such as the kidney.
- Your risk of catching pneumonia also depends on your ability to fight organisms and how strong your immune system is.
- You can prevent catching pneumonia by not getting wet in the rain or dressing up properly in cold weather.
Diagnosing bacterial pneumonia
- An x-ray may determine whether you are suffering from bacterial pneumonia
- A blood test is also important to see if the bacteria have entered the bloodstream apart from checking if there are enough red blood cells to carry oxygen.
- Sometimes your doctor may take a blood sample from one of your arteries (often in the wrist) to get an exact idea of how effectively you are exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Your sputum may also be collected to be seen under the microscope. This can often tell which specific bacterium is causing the problem.
- One of the simplest tests is to perform pulse oximetry also called a “pulse ox.” A probe resembling a clothespin is attached to your finger, toe, or ear while a special light shines through your skin to check how much oxygen is present in the bloodstream. If the level is lower than expected, it may be confirmed that you have pneumonia.
Treatment forbacterial pneumonia
If you think you are suffering from pneumonia based on the signs or symptoms you are feeling, see your physician at the earliest. There is no home treatment or home remedy for pneumonia. There are cough suppressants, expectorants, or fever-lowering drugs that could help but they should not be started without discussing their use or without a prescription from your doctor.
Apart from the pharmaceutical suggestions, the physician will recommend bed rest, plenty of fluid intake, nutritious diet and breathing exercises. In severe pneumonia, oxygen therapy and artificial ventilation may be given. Recovery depends on the extent of the infection and how quickly medical attention was given. Most people recover in a few weeks and residual coughing remains between six and eight weeks after the infection has gone.
Prevention of pneumonia
- Get a influenza shot every season
- Good hygiene should be practiced
- For people who are over the age of 65 are recommended to take the pneumococcal vaccine, this is most beneficial to them. This vaccine is 90% effective against bacteria and can protect the infection for five to ten years.
- Eat a proper diet, exercise regularly and sleep well
- Do not smoke
Bacterial pneumonia can be prevented and if not then can be treated. One should contact the physician if any of the above symptoms are felt. Diagnosing takes a little time but once the physician is sure of the infection the medicines work effectively and the infection leave you in couple of days or weeks.