Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs. It can affect one or both lungs at the same time. Pneumonia affects the lung air sacs known as alveoli. Due to it, the alveoli fill up with pus or fluid making it hard to breathe. It’s caused by bacteria, fungi or virus. It often clears up within 2 or 3 weeks but older adults, babies and people with other diseases may need to be hospitalised.
There are two disctinctions when it comes to categorizing pneumonia based on the way in which it is acquired. One is “Community-Associated Pneumonia” which people can acquire from daily life such as at school or at workplace. The other is called “Health-Care Associated/Hospital Acquired Pneumonia”. It refers to any pneumonia contracted by a patient in a hospital at least 48–72 hours after being admitted. It is thus distinguished from community-acquired pneumonia. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection, rather than a virus.
Pneumonia is acquired when the person breathes in germs or bacteria into the lungs. The lungs become more prone towards catching this disease if the person is already suffering from another medical condition like asthma, heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
Types And Causes Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia can be classified into various types depending on the causal factors. They are enumerated below:
1) Bacterial Pneumonia
A bacterial form of penumonia is caused by the bacteria known as “Streptococcus Pneumoniae”. Bacterial pneumonia can also be caused by Chlamydophila pneumonia or Legionella pneumophila. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is sometimes seen in those who have weak immune systems due to illnesses like AIDS or cancer. It can affect anyone at any age and is generally seen to develop after serious case of common cold or flu.
2) Viral Pneumonia
This type of pneumonia is caused by a virus instead of bacteria. It is generally seen in children and elderly people. Common causes of viral pneumonia are: Influenza virus A and B, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Human parainfluenza viruses (in children). The most commonly identified agents in children are respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, human metapneumovirus, human bocavirus, and parainfluenza viruses.
3) Mycoplasma Pneumonia
This type of pneumonia is caused by a pathogen known as “mycoplasma pneumoniae” which is a member of class “Mollicutes”. They are not considered to be a bacteria or virus since they have traits of both. It does not consist of a cell wall and boasts of considerable resistance to antibacterial agents.
4) Fungal Pneumonia
Fungal pneumonia is an infection of the lungs by fungi. It can be caused by either endemic or opportunistic fungi or a combination of both. Case mortality in fungal pneumonias can be as high as 90% in immunocompromised patients, though immunocompetent patients generally respond well to anti-fungal therapy.
5) Parasitic Pneumonia
Parasitic pneumonia is an infection of the lungs by parasites. It is a rare cause of pneumonia, occurring almost exclusively in immunocompromised persons (persons with a weakened or absent immune system). This is a respiratory infection that may or may not be serious. There are a variety of parasites which can affect the lungs. In general, these parasites enter the body through the skin or by being swallowed. Once inside the body, these parasites travel to the lungs, most often through the blood. There, a similar combination of cellular destruction and immune response causes disruption of oxygen transportation. Depending on the type of parasite, antibiotics can be prescribed.
The most common parasites involved are: Ascariasis, Schistosoma, Toxoplasma gondii
The most common symptoms of pneumonia are productive cough ( a cough that produces phlegm or mucus ), fever, shortness of breath, shaking chills and sharp stabbing pain in the chest.
For children under the age of 5, symptoms include cough, fever and erratic breathing. More severe signs and symptoms in children may include blue-tinged skin, not willing to drink, convulsions, ongoing vomiting, extremes of temperature, or a decreased level of consciousness.
Pneumonia caused by Legionella may occur with abdominal pain, diarrhea, or confusion, while pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae is associated with rusty colored sputum, and pneumonia caused by Klebsiella may have bloody sputum often described as “currant jelly”. Viral pneumonia presents more commonly with wheezing than does bacterial pneumonia
Pneumonia can be easily overlooked as the cause of an illness because it often resembles a cold or the flu. However, it usually lasts longer and symptoms seem more severe than these other conditions.
The doctor will inspect the medical history of the patient followed by a physical exam. The doctor may inspect the chest and if crackling and bubbling sounds appear then that means the patient is suffering from pneumonia. Wheezing sounds may also be present in the chest. A wheeze is a continuous, coarse, whistling sound produced in the respiratory airways during breathing.
Chest X-rays can be used to determine if infection is present in your lungs. However, chest X-rays won’t show your type of pneumonia. Blood tests can provide a better picture of the type of pneumonia. Also, blood tests are necessary to see if the infection is in your bloodstream.
A CT scan is better compared to X-Rays since it provides a much more clearer picture of the chest and lungs.
The sputum that comes out during coughing can also be tested to determine what type of pneumonia is present.
A pulse oximetry test measures the level of oxygen blood saturation by attaching a small sensor to your finger. Pneumonia can prevent normal oxygenation of the blood.
There are various different treatment options available for pneumonia. Here are a few:
In case of bacterial pneumonia, anti-biotics play an important role. The choice of the right type of anti-biotic depends upon the characteristics of the affected person such as age, other health conditions and location of infection from which the infection was acquired. Amoxicillin is the the general first line of defense against bacterial pneumonia. For those who require hospitalization and caught their pneumonia in the community, the addition of corticosteroids improves outcomes. These antibiotics are often given intravenously and used in combination. In those treated in hospital, more than 90% improve with the initial antibiotics.
For viral pneumonia caused by influenza, “neuraminidase inhibitors” are generally used. Neuraminidase Inhibitors are a class of drugs that are commonly used as anti-viral medications since they block the function of the viral neuraminidase enzyme of the influenza virus. Influenza A may be treated with rimantadine or amantadine, while influenza A or B may be treated with oseltamivir, zanamivir or peramivir.
For viral pneumonia caused by other viral pathogens, no specific antiviral medication exists.
Home Remedies For Pneumonia
Here we have listed some of the best few home remedies for pneumonia. Use them regularly to treat pneumonia effectively.
Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oils
Tea tree and eucalyptus oils are antibacterial. They will help kill the germs that cause pneumonia. Eucalyptus oil also relieves congestion by breaking up mucus in the lungs.
Boil some water and add in 5 drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil. Using a towel to drape your head, lean forwardand inhale the smoke. Continue untill the fragrance from the oil diminishes. A simple and easy natural home remedy for pneumonia.
Garlic kills the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause pneumonia. It contains allicin which is anti – bacterial and anti – viral helps to strengthen the immune system to fight off the illness. It also reduces phlegm in the lungs. Eat garlic raw, use it to season your food, or follow the methods below.
Crush some garlic and extract the juice. Mix it with one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of honey. Consume this mixture thrice a day to get relief. This is one of the safest and best home remedies for pneumonia.
Echinacea kills bacteria and boosts the immune system to help fight off pneumonia, and it reduces mucus in the lungs, a simple and potent home remedy for pneumonia.
Boil some water in a pot and add in 1 teaspoon echinacea, quarter teaspoon spearmint, lemon grass and 1 teaspoon honey. Consume twice or thrice in a week.
Goldenseal strengthens the immune system, clears up mucus and congestion, and soothes irritated throat muscles. If you are pregnant, or if you’ve suffered from diabetes, heart disease, or stroke, consult a doctor before using this treatment.
Boil water and add 2 teaspoons of dried goldenseal roots. Drink 3 times per day.
This marvelous root contain resin and asclepiadin which are known to have immense anti-inflammatory properties. They also promote perspiration which in turn detoxifies the body. Although, pregnant, breast feeding women and people with heart problems should avoid this home remedy for pneumonia.
Take 1 teaspoon of pleurisy root and put it in a cup of boiling water. Allow it to mix and cool down properly and drink 3 times a day.
The above listed herbs are the best excellent natural home remedies for pneumonia. Use them to cure pneumonia naturally and effectively.