Pneumonia Causes and Symptoms
Most of us have heard the term pneumonia at some point, but many don’t know what it means and if it’s a serious condition or not. According to the CDC, “Unfortunately, about 50,000 people die from the disease each year in the United States“.
At Prestige ER, we think the more informed we are about potential health risks, the more prepared we will be to handle them should they happen to a loved one. We believe that it’s vital to spread awareness about Pneumonia Causes and Symptoms.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection. It can affect one or both lungs, and it causes severe inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs, causing them to fill with liquid or pus, which makes breathing difficult.
What causes it?
Bacteria, viruses, and sometimes fungi can cause pneumonia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are the most common viruses and bacteria that can cause the illness.
- Influenza (the virus that causes the flu)
- Rhinoviruses (the virus that causes the common cold)
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
- SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae
- Legionella pneumophila
- Haemophilus influenzae
Is it Contagious?
It depends on the type of germ that caused the infection. Fungal pneumonia does not spread from person to person. However, both bacterial and viral pneumonia can be contagious.
The viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia spread through droplets released when the infected person sneezes or coughs.
Pneumonia can also spread by contact with infected surfaces where the droplets land.
Symptoms of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms range in severity. They can be mild or severe, and in some cases, they can even be life-threatening.
Common symptoms include:
- Cough – may produce phlegm or mucus ranging from greenish, yellow and sometimes may contain traces of blood
- Fever, sweating, or chills
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Unexplained shortness of breath
- Chest pain that worsens when you breathe or cough
- Feeling fatigued or having low energy
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion – mostly in older people
Anyone can get pneumonia. However, certain groups have a higher risk, including:
- Infants and children under the age of 2
- People 65 and over
- Anyone with a weakened immune system either because of illness or medication
- Individuals with chronic illnesses including, asthma, diabetes, heart failure, and cystic fibrosis
- Anyone who recently had a cold or the flu
- People who smoke or drink alcohol excessively
- Those exposed to lung irritants, such as fumes, chemicals, or pollution
Once you have a better understanding of Pneumonia Causes and Symptoms, our physicians recommend that you seek treatment to avoid potentially serious complications. Pneumonia is a serious condition that can lead to severe complications if left untreated.
The illness can result in:
- Lung abscesses
- Impaired breathing that may require a ventilator
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome – Severe respiratory failure, this is a medical emergency
- Bacteremia – Bacteria from the pneumonia infection spreads to your bloodstream. It can result in extremely low blood pressure, septic shock, and even organ failure
- Pleural effusion – fluid around the lungs that could get infected
- Death – The CDC estimates approximately 55,000 Americans die each year from pneumonia
When to Go to The ER
If you or a loved one are having trouble breathing, you should come to Prestige ER immediately.
Additionally, anyone with the following symptoms needs immediate medical attention:
- Chest pain
- Feelings of confusion or lethargy in children
- Coughing blood
- Lips that turn bluish
Prestige ER is the leading ER in Plano. Our team of highly trained emergency physicians and nurses are available 24/7 to help you through any medical emergency.
Prestige ER – In Plano and Mesquite Texas
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Safeguard yourself and family during these cold winter months, limit your time outdoors when possible, and keep an eye on any potential hazard, at Prestige ER we always advocate for prevention but are ready to treat any injury when it happens.
We are available 24/7 because an accident or illness complication can happen at any time. Do not risk your health for not getting help from the ER experts, visit us immediately at either of our two locations in Plano or Mesquite.
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