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What are the symptoms of pneumonia and how to treat it in adults and children?



Pneumonia, or pneumonia, is a viral disease that affects lung tissue and prevents normal oxygen exchange between the air and blood. Inflammatory secretions that enter the alveoli prevent the body from getting enough oxygen. And if the disease invades most of the lungs, acute respiratory failure develops.

People with a weak immune system, children and the elderly are susceptible to pneumonia. Every year in UK alone 1 million people suffer from the disease, and 30% of them are young children and people over 70 years.

But pneumonia can and should be treated! And it is recommended to do it with a complex approach. Treatment of any disease begins with a correct diagnosis. Therefore, at the first signs of pathology, consult a specialist.

What are the first symptoms of pneumonia, how to correctly and comprehensively approach treatment and what is required to diagnose the disease, we will tell in this article.

Causes of pneumonia

Pneumonia develops when bacteria and viruses enter the lungs, as well as foreign agents that affect part or all of the lung tissue. The pathogens of the pathology enter the human body by respiratory way, rarely – through the blood.

Why the disease quickly develops in the body of a person with reduced immunity? Bacteria are constantly present in our body, but defense mechanisms do not allow them to reproduce, causing pathology. But if the immune system is weakened, the harmful microflora increases the population, which leads to an inflammatory process.

Viral pneumonia also often develops against the background of the spread of colds of the upper respiratory tract (bronchitis, tracheitis). Also the cause of pneumonia can be hypothermia, stress, fatigue, excessive smoking. The risk of developing the disease increases in people with chronic diseases and obesity.

Signs of pneumonia in an adult

Signs of pneumonia in an adult

When the disease occurs, the person has a high body temperature, which can reach 38 °, there is a general weakness in the entire body, headache, the patient wants to lie down and relax. After a few days, a violent coughing fit occurs, with sputum.

Pain in the chest, especially in the inflammation area, and shortness of breath point to the seriousness of the situation and are a clear indication of pneumonia.

These are general signs, but the nature and timing of the symptoms may vary depending on the type of pneumonia. With viral pneumonia, the first symptoms appear rapidly and the patient feels a sharp deterioration in well-being. From the beginning of the disease, there is muscle pain, high body temperature, severe headache, and an excruciating dry cough.

Bacterial pneumonia, on the contrary, develops gradually. The disease does not begin until 2 weeks after the first signs appear. After that, there comes a sharp relief, improvement in the general condition of the patient, then the temperature rises sharply again, there is a headache, intensified cough, there is purulent sputum.

One serious type of the disease is atypical bilateral pneumonia, which extensively affects lung tissue and develops respiratory failure. Symptoms of bilateral pneumonia resemble a cold viral infection, and the lungs have not yet heard the characteristic rales. Many begin to treat themselves, which worsens the condition.

At first, the patient thinks that his condition has improved, the symptoms of the pathology begin to go away. But then the cough worsens and the second wave of the disease begins.

The symptomatology in the elderly may be slightly different. First of all, there is a dry cough, shortness of breath during small physical exertion on the body or even at rest. Often the disease runs without fever in people of mature age.

Signs of pneumonia in a child

Signs of pneumonia in a child

Often pneumonia in children appears as a complication of a viral infection (acute respiratory infections, influenza, etc. д.).

  • Cough that gets worse over time;
  • If the baby feels better and then feels bad again, it may indicate the presence of complications;
  • Every deep breath leads to a severe coughing fit;
  • There is a strong pallor of the skin against the background of the development of the above symptoms;
  • Shortness of breath.

Is pneumonia contagious??

Inflammatory process in the lungs is most often caused by the reproduction of the virus and as a complication of flu or acute respiratory infections. In such cases it is impossible to catch pneumonia itself, but it is easy to catch the disease that caused the disease. That is, pneumonia itself is not infectious, and the development of inflammation in the lungs – an independent complication that arose against a weakened immune system and improper self-treatment.

Can pneumonia go away on its own without treatment?

Lung inflammation or pneumonia is one of the most dangerous and frequent diseases of the respiratory system. The danger is that specialists don’t always have time to make a diagnosis in time. People don’t go to the doctor with a cough and fever, but prefer to stay home for a couple of days until the illness spreads. The condition can worsen to bilateral pneumonia, which carries serious consequences, long-term treatment or chronic illness.

A century ago, before the discovery of penicillin, pneumonia took the lives of those who fell ill. Science and medicine have not stood still – in a hundred years, our lives have changed dramatically. People have antibiotics in every medicine cabinet, and hospitals perform operations with modern equipment. However pneumonia is still on the list of the most deadly infectious diseases, and it should not be underestimated.

Pneumonia won’t go away by itself. This disease can lead to death, so going to a doctor is vital. Pneumonia must be treated by a doctor. It is he who determines whether antibiotics are needed and what kind, as well as deciding on the severity of the disease.

Temperature and cough with pneumonia

With pneumonia, there is always a high fever and a strong cough, is this true??

This is a very big and dangerous misconception. Errors in the diagnosis of the disease is one of the main causes of death from pneumonia. According to doctors, up to 30% of pneumonia cases are not diagnosed or are detected too late, as people do not see the need to go to the doctor before the appearance of high fever. As a result, this leads to a worsening of a person’s condition and the development of severe complications. Asymptomatic, hidden, but very real pneumonia often develops in children and the elderly. The main and most dangerous problem in diagnosing pneumonia in elderly patients is that the disease successfully masquerades as a variety of chronic diseases. In this case, it goes away without the most important marker of the disease for us, no fever. How then do you know if pneumonia is coming on in an adult?? – Oversee your body, and if you feel unwell, visit your doctor promptly.

If you have any signs, you should go to the doctor?

  • excessive sweating;
  • weakness;
  • shortness of breath.

By the way, the myth that pneumonia is necessarily accompanied by a bad cough is just a myth. This problem is mostly typical not for the older generation, but for children. It is not uncommon for pneumonia to progress, but there is no cough. If you do not go to the doctor in time and do not diagnose, then the child may have chronic consequences.

Lung inflammation in children can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath and pain in the chest when moving around;
  • Pain when turning your torso
  • Inability to take deep breaths;
  • tachycardia;
  • Physical exertion intolerance;
  • rapid fatigue;
  • weakness;
  • person looks pale, but with a bright unhealthy blush.

How pneumonia is transmitted?

The disease can be transmitted in different ways, including:

  • The airborne route. During the disease, droplets form on the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, which spread through the air during sneezing and coughing. Can be contracted through airborne droplets in all public places: hospitals, stores, and public transportation. The pathogenic agent can be spread through the air with particles of mucus, sputum, saliva.
  • Contact. The infection is also transmitted during contact – shaking hands, hugging, kissing. People are exposed to infection when they touch soiled objects or when they touch their mouth, eyes, or nose with dirty hands.
  • Domestic. Infection can be transmitted through towels, dishes, and shared bedding. Therefore, the patient should be provided with personal hygiene items, and, if possible, they should be changed and washed more often.

However, items of personal hygiene need to be treated very carefully. It has been proved that the viral microorganism can survive for up to 4 hours on any surface. Bacteria are not afraid of frost, even chlorine will kill them only five minutes after the treatment.

Pneumonia and bronchitis: What’s the difference??

Both diseases affect the respiratory system of a person, and therefore have similar symptoms. It is often difficult to distinguish between the two pathologies.

Pneumonia Bronchitis
In most cases is accompanied by a sharp rise in temperature to 38-39 ° and a febrile state. There is a slight increase in temperature. Accompanied by a severe dry cough. In some cases, greenish sputum or bloody discharge may occur. Moist cough, sputum has a light color.
A “moist” rales are heard when listening to the chest. A “dry” rales are heard when listening to the chest.

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

How is pneumonia diagnosed??

If a child has the disease, you need to see a pediatrician. If an adult – make an appointment with a general practitioner, who will refer you to a subspecialist, if necessary. The doctor will conduct an external examination, take your medical history, and find out about your symptoms of the disease.

You will be referred to a laboratory test:

  • General blood test;
  • Urinalysis;
  • Sputum analysis – conducted to determine the inflammatory process in the body, as well as the causative agent of pneumonia and its sensitivity to antibiotics.

From the diagnostic methods of research you will be prescribed:

  • Chest X-rays – the images show darkening in the areas of tissue lesions;
  • Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging – used as additional measures when other methods do not allow an accurate diagnosis.

Ways to treat pneumonia

If the pneumonia is bacterial in nature, antibiotics are prescribed. Their effectiveness can be evaluated after 48-72 hours. If the fever subsides, the cough becomes less frequent, and the patient begins to feel better, the treatment is continued. The course of medication should not be interrupted, and it is important to take it correctly as prescribed by the doctor. If the antibiotics do not help, another treatment may be prescribed or a different group of drugs may be used.

For viral pneumonia, antibiotics are not effective, so antiviral drugs are prescribed. Vitamins and immunomodulators may be prescribed as adjuvants.

As soon as the patient’s body temperature returns to normal, physical therapy can be prescribed. This helps remove the phlegm from the lungs. For this purpose they often also take herbal remedies, for example, licorice root or complex chest collection.

Together with medications the patient needs bed rest, nutrition containing protein and vitamins, and plenty of warm drinking water. For a better effect, therapeutic methods – electrophoresis, inhalation, massage, magnetic therapy, etc.д.

Vaccination against pneumonia as prevention

Vaccination against pneumococcal infection is worthwhile when:

  • Frequent outbreaks occur;
  • Visiting public areas;
  • Working in a bacteriological laboratory;
  • Frequent pneumonia, acute respiratory infections, and influenza from which the patient suffers.

There are several medications that are given intravenously to protect against disease. All of them differ in their composition, cost and breadth of action.

In adults this vaccine is given as a one-time shot, and a solid immune response to the pathogen develops in 2-3 weeks. But experts recommend vaccinating once every 5 years.

Diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia is handled by Medunion Clinic specialists. You can make an appointment to see a specialist in one of the convenient ways: