Pneumonia infection : what you need to know

By Dr Ajughoro Oghenetega (M.D)

 

What does pneumonia mean?

Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs, causing inflammation (swelling) of the air sacs(alveoli) and subsequent accumulation of pus and fluids in the air sacs.

The infection could either be Bacteria, Viral or Fungal in origin.

 and Types of Pneumonia

Depending on the causative agent, to the region of the lung affected, to where and how the
infection is acquired, pneumonia can be classified as follows;

Area of Lung affected:

A. Broncho pneumonia
B. Lobar Pneumonia
C. Interstitial Pneumonia

Causative agent:

-Bacterial

-Fungal
-Viral

How the infection is acquired:
-Community acquired pneumonia
-Hospital acquired Pneumonia
-Health care acquired Pneumonia
-Aspiration Pneumonia

Pneumonia infection

How does a person get Pneumonia?

The organisms that cause pneumonia are contagious, hence it can be spread from one
individual to another.

-The infection is spread by inhalation of airborne droplets (from sneezing or coughing) of an
infected person.

Risk Factors

Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. According to
the WHO, pneumonia killed approximately 808,694 children under the age of 5 in 2017.

Here are some of the risks factors for contracting Pneumonia:
– Age: children below 5 and adults above 65 have highest risk
-Smoking
Being hospitalized in an intensive care unit
-Weakened immunity (HIV, Cancer)
-Recent history of upper respiratory tract infection
-Background chronic respiratory disease (COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma)

Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

-Fever (hypothermia in elderly)
-Chest pain with coughing or breathing
-Cough (non-productive in early stage later becomes productive)
-Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath
-Nausea or vomiting
-Confusion

How is pneumonia Diagnosed?

-Elaborate history taking (contact with anyone sick/coughing, travel history, comorbidities)

– Examination – your doctor will examine you after taking history(asking you some questions)

Investigations

-Full blood count

-Blood culture
-Chest X-ray
-Sputum analysis (microscopy culture and sensitivity)
-Chest CT

Treatment Of Pneumonia
-Treat the causative agent: antibiotic therapy, anti-fungal or anti-viral therapy
-Supportive Care: fluids, anti-pyrectics, pain relievers, cough suppressants / mucolytics, oxygen therapy, breathing exercises.

-In severe cases when patient presents septic, there is need for hospital admission and
management.

Complications of Pneumonia

-Lung abscess formation (pockets of pus)
-Respiratory failure
-Pleural Effusion (fluid buildup in lungs)

-If not promptly managed, it may lead to septic shock and death ultimately

Prevention of pneumonia

-Vaccination (Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23)
-Quit smoking
-Practice good hygiene
-Close mouth when coughing or sneezing
-Healthy diet and lifestyle for strong immunity

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