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Everything you need to know about pneumonia I Shaio

Pneumonia is an inflammatory reaction to a respiratory infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, which affects the alveoli of the lungs by filling with fluid or pus and collapsing the airways.

According to the World Health Organization, this disease is the leading cause of mortality in children under 5 years of age and older adults in the world.

What are the most latent manifestations of pneumonia?

Generally, the symptoms depend on the severity of the infection, but they are usually similar to those of a common flu:

  • Cough, chest pain or difficulty breathing

  • Mucous or purulent expectoration

  • Fever, sweating and chills

  • Tiredness and fatigue

  • Nausea or vomiting

Risk factors that cause pneumonia

This pathology is more latent in:

  • Immunosuppressed patients or with autoimmune diseases

  • Transplanted patients

  • Patients with COPD

  • Patients with comorbidities

  • Patients with cardiovascular diseases

How is pneumonia detected?

The majority of patients who visit the doctor for some or all of the symptoms, state that they have had flu-like symptoms that can be warning symptoms for pneumonia, this gives way for the doctor to perform physical examinations to detect other symptoms such as fever, tachycardia and low voltage

One of the detection methods is by means of auscultation, to listen to the sounds produced in the chest cavities, which allow to verify the state of the respiratory tract, the lungs and other organs involved.

Another way to detect this disease is through paraclinical examinations such as a chest X-ray, which shows where the infection is actually located, and secretion culture examinations.

What causes pneumonia?

Generally germs, being bacteria and viruses in the air are the causes of this disease, which vary depending on the place where the person has been infected and can be classified as:

  1. Community acquired pneumonia: being the most common, it usually occurs due to a flu or cold in which the symptoms persist, in this type of pathology germs such as pneumococcus or influenza are found.

  2. Healthcare-acquired pneumonia: this occurs in people who live in long-term care centers such as nursing homes or ambulatory centers, it is normal to find germs such as intra-negative bacilli and staphylococci and they can become resistant to antibiotics.

  3. Nosocomial pneumonia: it usually happens in hospitalized patients.

  4. Aspiration pneumonia: it occurs when certain foods, drinks, vomit or saliva are inhaled into the lungs.

Treatments for pneumonia

Treatment can be carried out at home, although it depends on the type of infection and the general condition of the patient. Courses of antibiotic, cough medicine or pain relievers may be started.

There are cases where the patient does not improve and returns to the doctor due to complications in the symptoms, for example, that the germ is resistant to the antibiotic, that the infection spreads throughout the body, or that there are complications with pneumonia that may develop in a pleural effusion, in this case it is necessary to immediately hospitalize the patient and begin clinical treatments.

How to prevent pneumonia?

  • Maintain vaccination schedules implemented in health systems for both adults and children.

  • Maintain good hygiene (wash your hands regularly or use alcohol-based gel).

  • Maintain a strong immune system.

  • Have good health habits (healthy diet, regular exercise).

  • Avoid smoking (tobacco is a risk factor for respiratory diseases).

This article was advised by Dr. José Rubén Dueñas Villamil, head of the Pneumology service at the Shaio Clinic.

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