Lung problems are among the most common and dangerous disorders for kids and old people. Every air-breathing living thing needs the lungs in order to survive, their chief function being to transport oxygen into the bloodstream and release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream and into the atmosphere. This complex function is possible because the lungs have specialized cells that form millions of tiny, thin walled sacs called the alveoli. Without them, mammals would have difficulty breathing.
It is these alveoli that are affected when you have pneumonia. In pneumonia, these alveoli become inflamed and fill with fluid. Pneumonia can come in different kinds, from the mild to life-threatening. The most usual cause of this is a bacterial infection, although viruses, fungi, and other organisms are common culprits as well. While pneumonia affects all age groups, it’s elderly and the chronically ill people that are at most risk.
Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Since pneumonia often mimics a cold or flu at the beginning, it is often difficult to spot until it’s too late. Chest pain is also a common symptom for many types of pneumonia. Also, specific symptoms can manifest themselves depending on what type of organism caused the disease in the first place.
- Bacterial. Bacterial pneumonia can cause a sudden onset of symptoms that include chills, high fever, sweating, a shortness of breath, and a cough that produces thick yellow or greenish phlegm.
- Viral. Viruses cause about half of pneumonia cases. They tend to begin with flu-like symptoms. Cough is usually non-productive, and some fever, muscle pain, and fatigue are also experienced. As the disease starts to progress, the cough may produce small quantities of clear phlegm. Viral pneumonias put you at risk of developing a secondary bacterial pneumonia.
- Mycoplasmic. If you have mycoplasmic pneumonia, chances are you may not even know it. Mycoplasma organism causes signs and symptoms like those of the viral or bacterial infection, but they are more gradual and are often mild.
- Fungi. Although less common than bacteria and viruses, some types of fungus can also cause pneumonia. Symptoms aren’t as obvious as the other types, although some may develop chronic pneumonia that lasts for months.
Ways To Get Rid Of Pneumonia
If you’re suffering from pneumonia, it is imperative that you consult a physician right away. Here are some ways to recover faster from pneumonia:
- Take the drugs prescribed by your doctor. Medicine will depend on the kind of pneumonia you have. Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated by antibiotics. Even if you start to feel better once you’ve taken them, don’t stop and be sure that you complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed. Viral pneumonias are not curable by antibiotics, so they are usually treated like a serious case of flu-through rest and plenty of fluids. If your pneumonia is caused by a fungus, then antifungal medication is administered. Aside from these medications, the doctor may give you medicines to treat your fever, body aches, and cough.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Pneumonia comes with fever most of the time so you should keep yourself hydrated in order to reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated by the heat. Drinking lots of fluid also helps get the phlegm out, especially if you have a productive cough, as is often the case in bacterial pneumonia.
- Get plenty of rest. Do not overexert yourself. You will only worsen the symptoms and your fatigue. As much as you can, get the proper dosage of sleep, at least 8 to 10 hours every night. Don’t sleep too late; preferably, sleep before 12 midnight. Avoid work that will put a strain on your lungs and breathing.
- Stop smoking. If you have a smoking habit, it’s best if you quit that altogether. The lungs are already battered enough with the disease without you having to contribute to its condition by smoking. Smoking may exacerbate the condition and may even cause you to develop other diseases on top of pneumonia.
- Regularly go for check-ups. Even if you’re already feeling better, it’s important that you keep having regular check-ups until the doctor has fully cleared you of the disease. Frequent check-ups will also help find any new complications at an early time, before they develop into something more serious.
For whatever disease, prevention is always better than cure. Unlike other diseases, you usually don’t contract pneumonia from someone else. Instead, you can get it when your immune system is sufficiently weakened. That is why pneumonia is most dangerous to those who are elderly and chronically ill. Their immune systems are almost always lower than that of a normal person’s. In order to help you prevent getting pneumonia, the following tips should come handy.
- Get vaccinated for the flu. Pneumonia can develop as a complication from the common flu, so make sure that your flu vaccinations are up to date. Also, get a vaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia at least once after your 55th birthday.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. Since your hands are almost always in contact with germs that can cause pneumonia, it is important that you develop the habit of washing your hands. If you can’t wash your hands due to circumstances, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which can even be more effective in destroying bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia.
- Get lots of exercise and a balanced diet. In general, keep yourself healthy. That way, your immune system will also be at its peak. Live a healthy lifestyle and you shouldn’t have any problems with pneumonia and other diseases.
It is always a good idea to take care of your lungs. After all, they are one of the reasons why you’re still breathing, literally. A healthy lifestyle plus regular check-up goes a long way to ensure that you and your lungs will always be in top shape.
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