What is Pneumonia? Research Piece based on Personal Experience

By S. Standish

Let me preface this by saying this is a research article that I did in order to get more information on this infection. I am not a medical professional and am only putting research into one place. I recently went through a bout of Pneumonia and asked a lot of questions of my medical team while I was staying in the hospital. If you suspect you or someone else has Pneumonia, take them to a medical professional for diagnosis and to gain medically warranted personal information.

Image result for pneumonia word

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. It can be caused by bacteria (most common in adults), viruses(what took me out this holiday), or fungi. The NORMAL healthy human lung is a sterile environment, with no bacteria or viruses causing a ruckus. But the upper respiratory system and parts of the gastrointestinal system, is different and bacteria hang around even in a healthy state. With Pneumonia, this sterile environment is compromised and your body needs help to clean this infection out.

From Kidshealth.com – But if a person has pneumonia, his or her lungs can’t do their job as well as they usually do. Why? Because this kind of infection creates fluid and mucus that blocks the alveoli. This makes it hard for oxygen to get deep into the lungs, where it can be passed through to the blood. The person can still breathe, but it might be harder to breathe, especially if the pneumonia affects both lungs.

Image result for easy explanation of pneumonia

Pneumonia symptoms can be very mild to life-threatening. There are several common symptoms of Pneumonia. Again, everything varies based on the cause and strength of the infection. The age and general age of the patient also affects the symptoms. You may exhibit all/some/none of the following:

  • coughing that may or may not produce a phlegmy mucous
  • shortness of breath
  • flu like – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • fever, sweating, and chills
  • chest pain
  • fast heartbeat
  • tired

*****From Healthline.com:
Symptoms by age

  • Children under 5 years of age may have fast breathing.
  • Infants may vomit, lack energy, or have trouble drinking or eating.
  • Older people may have a lower-than-normal body temperature.

Is Pneumonia contagious? Both the viral and bacterial versions of pneumonia can spread to others through inhalation of airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. I was in respiratory isolation until they diagnosed me with Pneumonia and a large Pleural Effusion (fluid in the lungs). Fungal comes from the environment and doesn’t spread from person to person.

How is Pneumonia diagnosed? (These are the tests that I experienced with my diagnosis, different for each individual case)

  • Listening for the crackling sounds. I heard them myself, it is comparable to those pop rock candies going off in your lungs.
  • Chest X-ray – This took a day to get the results.
  • Taking blood samples which can confirm an infection, but it may not be able to identify what’s causing it.
  • A CT scan which provides a clearer and more intricate picture of your lungs.
  • Fluid extraction from the pleural space in your lungs. I happened to have 1.5 litres of fluid in my left lung. So they extracted the majority of the fluid through a syringe from my back. That fluid was tested to see the cause of my infection.

What can be done to get rid of it? 

Pneumonia can be mild and easily cured with antibiotics and rest, or it can be severe and require hospitalization (requires more extensive medications and interventions).

Prevention?

Proper hygiene (washing hands with soap), vaccination (if suggested by doctor), eating right, staying on top of general health (seeing a medical professional if you are questioning any symptoms exhibited by yourself or another individual) and exercising.

Resources:

WebMD

Babycenter.com – Pneumonia in Toddlers

Again please if you think you, your child or another individual may have a respiratory infection, please seek medical assistance.

Any other information to add?? Please email with comments or great informative links for people to explore.

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