Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lungs typically caused by infections, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It is characterized by the inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs, leading to the accumulation of fluid and pus. Common symptoms include cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever, and fatigue. Pneumonia can range from mild to severe, and certain populations, such as the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems, are at a higher risk of developing complications.

Pneumonia manifests with a range of symptoms involving the respiratory system and overall health. Common signs include a persistent cough, often producing phlegm, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Fever, chills, and fatigue are also prevalent, contributing to a general sense of illness. In severe cases, individuals may experience rapid breathing and an increased heart rate. The symptoms can vary in intensity, and certain populations, such as the elderly or those with weakened immune systems, may exhibit atypical presentations.

Pneumonia is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets containing infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, or fungi, released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Additionally, the virus or bacteria causing pneumonia can be present in respiratory secretions and spread through direct contact with contaminated surfaces. Crowded environments, such as hospitals or households, increase transmission risks. While bacterial and viral pneumonia are contagious, fungal pneumonia usually doesn't spread between people.

The diagnosis of pneumonia involves a combination of clinical evaluation, imaging studies, and, in some cases, laboratory tests. Healthcare providers assess symptoms such as cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and fever. Physical examinations, including listening to lung sounds, aid in identifying abnormal respiratory signs. Chest X-rays are commonly employed to visualize lung abnormalities, such as infiltrates or consolidations, indicative of pneumonia. In some instances, further tests, like blood cultures or sputum samples, may be conducted to identify the specific pathogen causing the infection, guiding targeted treatment.

Preventing pneumonia involves a multifaceted approach that includes vaccination, respiratory hygiene, and addressing underlying risk factors. Vaccination against common pathogens, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and influenza viruses, is a key preventive measure, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Practicing good respiratory hygiene, including regular handwashing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals, helps reduce the spread of infectious agents.

Pneumonia treatment involves a combination of medications, supportive care, and addressing underlying causes. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for bacterial pneumonia, while antiviral medications may be used for viral cases. Supportive care includes adequate rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications to manage symptoms such as fever and pain. In severe cases requiring hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics, oxygen therapy, and respiratory support may be administered.

  • Pneumonia can have more than 30 different causes. Understanding the cause of pneumonia is important because pneumonia treatment depends on its cause.

  • Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 5, surpassing all other diseases.

  • Pneumonia can lead to severe complications, including pleurisy (inflammation of the lining between the lungs and ribcage), and, rarely, lung abscesses or blood poisoning (septicaemia).


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