Pneumonia is a lung infection that causes the air sacs in your lungs to fill with fluid or pus. This makes it hard for you to breathe in oxygen to reach your bloodstream. A variety of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause pneumonia.

 

Pneumonia can vary from mild to life-threatening, it is most serious for infants and older people over 65 years old because their immune system is not yet formed or has weakened.

 

You can get pneumonia in one or both lungs. You can have pneumonia and not know it. Lifestyle habits, like smoking and too much alcohol intake, can raise your chances of getting pneumonia.

Symptoms of pneumonia depend on its causes, age, and overall health. Common symptoms include:

· Chest pain when breathing and coughing

· Fatigue and loss of appetite

· Fever, sweating, and chills

· Shortness of breath

· Cough that produces phlegm or mucus

Pneumonia can also spread in several ways. They may spread via air-borne droplets from coughing or sneezing. Pneumonia can also spread through blood. Also, viruses and bacteria found in the nose and throat, can infect the lungs when they are inhaled.

 

The most common causes of pneumonia includes:

· Flu viruses

· Cold viruses

· Bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae and mycoplasma pneumoniae

 

There are factors that increases the chance of getting pneumonia, these includes:

· Being hospitalized – the risk increases if you’re in a hospital’s intensive care unit, especially if you’re on a ventilator

· Smoking – smoking destroys your body’s natural defense against illness, including pneumonia

· Chronic diseases – risk increases when you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or heart disease

· Weakened immune system – people who have HIV/AIDS, had organ transplant or have undergone chemotherapy are at higher risk of getting pneumonia

 

Even after undergoing treatment, people who have pneumonia may experience complications including:

· Bacteria in the bloodstream

· Difficulty breathing

· Fluid accumulation around the lungs

· Lung abscess

 

Although treatments are already available for pneumonia, prevention is still and always better than cure. Here are some tips to help prevent pneumonia:

· Vaccination – vaccines are already available in the market to prevent some types of pneumonia and flu

· Good hygiene – washing your hands regularly or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help protect yourself against any respiratory infections

· Keeping your immune system strong – Get enough sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise to keep your immune system strong

 

If left untreated, pneumonia could be life threatening. Getting a proper diagnosis is very important to prevent more serious complications. Your doctors will tell you which course of treatment is right for you.