Pneumonia

Simply put pneumonia is the inflammation of the substance of the lungs. It is mostly caused by bacteria(streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Haemophilia influenzae)but can be caused by viruses( eg Influenza A and B) and fungi. Pneumonia can occur in all age groups but more in the extremes of ages (children and the elderly). Conditions such as HIV infection, diabetes Mellitus, malnutrition,chronic kidney disease can predispose someone to pneumonia.

Life style like cigarette smoking, excess alcohol and intravenous drug use predisposes one to pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia includes cough (dry or productive) , purulent sputum, fast breathing,chest pain and fever. Several different microorganisms cause pneumonia. Infection is spread by respiratory droplets from an infected person.

The symptoms vary with age and with the effectiveness of a person's immune response. Some of the investigations that will be required of you when you see a physician includes chest X-ray, full blood count, urea and electrolyte, sputum M/C/S. The main stay of treatment is Antibiotics, supplemental oxygen,and intravenous fluids at the discretion of the doctor. When given prompt and adequate treatment response is quick and no complications. Vaccination against influenza is recommended for at risk groups.

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