Pneumonia is a type of lung infection that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It is characterized by inflammation of the lung tissue, which can lead to difficulty breathing, chest pain, and coughing. Other symptoms of pneumonia can include fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and loss of appetite.
The main cause of pneumonia is the inhalation of bacteria or viruses that enter the lungs. These can be spread through the air when someone with pneumonia coughs or sneezes, or they can be spread by touching contaminated objects and then touching the mouth or nose. Pneumonia can also develop after a cold or the flu, or as a complication of other medical condition such as HIV or cancer that may weaken your immune system.
To diagnose pneumonia, a doctor will typically perform a physical examination and listen to the lungs with a stethoscope. They may also order a chest X-ray or CT scan to look for signs of infection in the lungs. Other tests, such as a blood test or a sputum culture, can be used to identify the specific type of bacteria or virus causing the infection.
Treatment for pneumonia typically involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria or antiviral medications to fight the virus causing the infection. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide oxygen therapy and other supportive care. In most cases, patients with pneumonia can recover fully with appropriate treatment.
It is important for individuals with pneumonia to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. They should also avoid exposure to tobacco smoke and other lung irritants. In some cases, a vaccine can be given to prevent pneumonia caused by certain types of bacteria. It is also important for individuals to practice good hygiene, such as washing their hands regularly, to help prevent the spread of pneumonia.
To discuss examination and treatment options, please book an appointment with our specialist.
To learn more about pneumonia, please click on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pneumonia/
Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych