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Pneumonia: Know the signs and symptoms-World Pneumonia Day

Pneumonia is a disease where lungs are affected by germs maybe virus, bacteria or fungus. It spreads from one person to another by air droplets. When one affected person coughs, he releases droplets of infection in air and when another susceptible person comes in contact with these secreted droplets he catches the infection.

Pneumonia sign and symptoms

Some conditions make one individual more susceptible to these infections like:

  • Extremes of age
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Transplant patients
  • Patients on certain medications like steroids and post-transplant medication and with co-morbid conditions, asthma, stroke etc.

When one catches pneumonia he develops following common symptoms like:

  • Cough
  • Sputum
  • Fever
  • Chest Pain
  • Breathlessness and others.

When one develops these symptoms we should go for check up to the specialist.

Pneumonia Investigations- What do the doctors do?

The investigations which are commonly done are

  • Sputum Examination
  • Chest X-Ray
  • Culture Test Of Blood And Sputum
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematological Profile

All these are done to find out the extent of pneumonia and possible germs causing it. Nature of the germs is different according to the different scenario of disease development like, community acquired pneumonia, hospital acquired pneumonia and ventilated associated pneumonia, and initial treatment varies according to the scenario.

Final treatment depends upon the microorganisms isolated. This usually takes one to two weeks of treatment in most of the cases but, in certain conditions and the nature of the disease this may vary up to six weeks. The severity of the disease varies from person to person, some patients require treatment from OPD only and some may require admission which maybe in room or HDU or ICU. Depending upon the severity and if the oxygen is less to maintain the oxygenation they require ventilator support.

Pneumonia – How to prevent it?

Winter and change of weather are the time periods when epidemics of pneumonia can occur like, influenza, swine flu etc. During such outbreaks some general measures should be taken to avoid spreading by isolating the infected persons and washing hands before and after eating. All risk population should receive proper vaccination. Consult your Pulmonologist to know about the details of the Pneumonia Vaccination.