Pneumonia: How to avoid it in this pandemic environment?

Pneumonia is a condition that inflames the alveoli sacs of either one or both lungs and may manifest in filling of the sacs with fluid.

The disease is presented with severe cough, sputum, shortness in breath, etc. It can be infectious or non-infectious.


CLASSIFICATION OF PNEUMONIA

By Location acquired:

  • Community acquired¬†
  • Hospital acquired

By cause:

  • Opportunistic pneumonia
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Chemical pneumonia
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

By area of the lung infected:

  • Lobar Pneu (present in a single lung)
  • Multilobar Pneu (present in both the lungs)
  • Bronchial Pneu
  • Interstitial Pneu


SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF PNEUMONIA

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Sputum/Bloody sputum
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blue-tinged skin
  • Acute Bronchitis
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Wheezing


CAUSES & RISK FACTORS

  • Bacterial infections by Streptococci, Pseudomonas, Mycobacteria.
  • Viral infections by coronavirus, HSV, Adeno Virus.
  • Fungal infections by aspergillus, candidiasis.
  • COPD
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Asthma
  • Smoking
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Exposure to asbestos causes asbestosis
  • Exposure to silicon causes silicosis
  • Weakened immune system
  • Exposure to pollution


COMPLICATIONS IN PNEUMONIA

  • Respiratory complication
  • Emphysema
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Lung abscess
  • Bronchitis
  • Sepsis
  • Heart Attack
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Bacterial infection of the blood


DIAGNOSIS

  1. Physical examination may show decreased chest expansion.
  2. Chest imaging can be done to diagnose chest abnormalities. X-Ray imaging CT scans are applied to differentiate different types of the disease.
  3. During a sputum culture, a sample of mucus/sputum is collected to be analyzed for the presence of microbial infections.
  4. Fluid sample is taken which may be present in the pleural membrane to check for infective agents.
  5. Blood culture to detect presence of infective agents & antigens.


TREATMENT FOR PNEUMONIA

  • Medications used in bacterial infections, like antibiotics (amoxicillin, azithromycin, cephalosporin)
  • In viral infections, antivirals like amantadine, oseltamivir, etc.
  • Aspiration pneumonia is treated by agents like metronidazole.
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Corticosteroids
  • OTC cough medicines
  • Intranasal supplements
  • Drugs to relax breathing
  • In severe case, support is required for breathing assistance
  • Hospitalization


PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT

  • Giving up smoking
  • Use of face masks
  • Avoid exposure to severe pollution
  • Avoid exposure to industrial agents like asbestos & silicon
  • Educated decisions before consumption of unknown mushrooms
  • Administering oneself with a regular timely vaccine for influenza
  • Chest physiotherapy