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Does The Flu Cause Pneumonia

What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia

What You Need to Know About Pneumonia During Flu Season

Bacteria pneumonia is caused by bacteria that works its way into the lungs and then multiplies. It can occur on its own or develop after another illness, like a cold or the flu. People who have a higher risk for pneumonia may:

Doctors classify bacterial pneumonia based on whether it developed inside or outside a hospital.

Community-acquired pneumonia : This is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia. CAP occurs when you get an infection after exposure to bacterial agents outside of a healthcare setting. You can get CAP by breathing in respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, or by skin-to-skin contact.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia : HAP occurs within two to three days of exposure to germs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctors office. This is also called a nosocomial infection. This type of pneumonia is often more resistant to antibiotics and more is difficult to treat than CAP.

Influenza Pandemics Since The Late 1800s

Influenza pandemics, generally characterized by the emergence of a novel influenza A against which little or no immunity exists within the global populace, are a cause of high mortality and morbidity and are a major financial burden . Since the 1800s these pandemics have arisen from a number of countries, spreading across the globe . Detailed below and in Table we have sought to describe some of the most significant influenza pandemics since the late 1800s to highlight the potential impact of influenza with respect to associations with bacterial infection.

World Map showing countries confirmed and suspected of being the origin of influenza pandemics. Blue The origin of the 1918 Spanish is still unclear, although various papers suggest the United States or France as the origin yellow China the origin of the 1957 Asian flu pandemic Hong Kong, the origin of the 1968 Hong Kong pandemic red Russia, the origin of the 1889 and 1977 Russian flu pandemics green Mexico, the origin of the 2009 Swine flu pandemic.

Mechanisms Of Enhanced Susceptibility To Bacterial Pneumonia Postinfluenza Infection

There have been several mechanisms proposed to explain the increase in susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia following influenza infection of the respiratory tract . Previous work has shown that influenza infects epithelial cells and causes virus-induced tissue damage . Thus, one potential mechanism of enhanced susceptibility to subsequent bacterial infections could be due to damage to the respiratory epithelium or exposure of new binding partners to which bacteria can more readily adhere . Influenza causes the activation of both the innate and the adaptive immune response and the production of a variety of different cellular mediators . Consequently, the production of a variety of cytokines and chemokines could affect the recruitment and function of cells in response to a secondary bacterial infection . Finally, the dysregulation of cellular mediators themselves could skew the immune response, rendering the host more permissive to subsequent bacterial infections .

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Who Are At Risk Of Developing Covid

Some people are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19 pneumonia. It totally depends on the individual’s health conditions. Some of the other risk factors include:


Older adults or adults who are 65 years up are at an increased risk for serious illness due to COVID-19.

#Underlying Health Complications

An individual who is suffering from other health complications such as – asthma, diabetes, liver diseases, obesity, and kidney illnesses is at higher risk of catching COVID-19 pneumonia.

#Weak Immunity System

Another most important risk factor is a weakened immune system. Being immunocompromised can raise the risk of serious COVID-19 pneumonia disease.

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Coronavirus: What Happens to People

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How Influenza Triggers Ards

Influenza virus infects respiratory epithelial cells that line the upper through lower respiratory tract. A key parameter in determining the extent of associated disease is the degree to which the lower respiratory tract becomes invaded by the virus . The infection of alveolar epithelial cells in particular appears to drive the development of severe disease, destroying the key mediators of gas exchange and allowing viral exposure to endothelial cells. Early interactions between influenza virus, the alveolar macrophages that are resident in the lung airways, and the epithelial lining are an important determinant for alveolar disease progression . Once this fragile layer is breached, cytokine and viral antigen exposure to the endothelial layer can amplify inflammation, with endothelial cells a major source of pro-inflammatory cytokines that will drive the magnitude and character of subsequent innate and adaptive immune responses .

Therapies targeting these pathways may have efficacy later in the response, after traditional antivirals have been found to have reduced effects . Towards this end, a report found that inhibition of the collagenase MT1-MMP limited tissue damage and improved survival in a mouse model of severe influenza virus infection and in a model of influenza-pneumococcal coinfection . Targeting the downstream effects of inflammation and immune-associated lung damage may be a viable means of limiting influenza-associated pathology .

Cold Flu And Pneumonia: How They Compare

The basic differences, says Milstone, come down to whether you can prevent and treat the disease, and how serious the consequences can be.

With the common cold, he says, there’s not much that really can be done and there’s no vaccine to prevent it. But since it’s not a serious illness and symptoms are pretty mild, it’s not typically something you should worry about.

The flu and pneumonia are different stories. Both can have serious consequences and more severe symptoms that can leave you feeling pretty awful. Both are associated with a much higher rate of hospitalization and even death than the common cold. The severe symptoms associated with flu and pneumonia should be evaluated by a doctor.

Some types of both the flu and pneumonia can be prevented with vaccines and treated with medication. These can not only prevent serious complications, but also get you feeling better fast and no matter what you have, that’s all you want.

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How Can I Help Prevent The Flu In My Child

The best way to prevent flu is to have the yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is given as a shot . A nasal spray is not recommended for the 2017-2018 flu season. The CDC says this is because the nasal spray did not seem to protect against the flu over the last several flu seasons.

Each year, a new flu vaccine is available before the start of the flu season. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about how vaccines work and how well they prevent flu. The first time a child between the ages of 6 months and 8 years gets a flu vaccine, he or she will need a second flu vaccine one month later.

The vaccine is advised for all children 6 months and older. But for some children, its more critical for them to get a flu shot. The flu shot should be given to any child who has any of these:

  • A long-term heart or lung condition

  • An endocrine disorder such as diabetes

  • A kidney or liver disorder

  • Weak immune system from HIV/AIDS or long-term steroids

  • A blood disorder such as sickle cell disease

A flu shot should also be given to:

  • A child who has a family member with a chronic health condition

  • A child or teen taking aspirin as long-term therapy

  • A child with parents or caregivers at high risk of complications from the flu

Some side effects of the vaccine can be like mild flu symptoms, but the vaccine does not cause the flu. Possible side effects of the flu vaccine include:

And you can help prevent your child spreading the flu to others if you:

When Should I See My Doctor

Infectious disease doctor: Flu or pneumonia vaccine can help in fight against coronavirus

Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.

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What Causes Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia In Influenza

Secondary bacterial pneumonia can occur from numerous pathogens . The most dreaded complication is staphylococcal pneumonia, which develops 2-3 days after the initial presentation of viral pneumonia. Patients appear severely ill, with productive bloody cough, hypoxemia, an elevated white blood cell count, and multiple cavitary infiltrates on chest radiography.

A study from Israel found an increase in S pneumoniae bacteremia during regular influenza seasons in addition, during the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic, there were higher rates of Spneumoniae bacteremia among children and higher rates of S aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes infections in all age groups.

What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia

People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.

Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:

  • General decline in quality of life for months or years

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What Is The Pneumonia Vaccine

The pneumonia vaccine is an injection that prevents you from contracting pneumococcal disease. There are two pneumococcal vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States:

  • PCV13 Prevnar 13®: This vaccine helps protect against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that most commonly cause serious infections in children and adults. Doctors give this vaccine to children at 12 through 15 months, 2, 4, and 6 years old. Adults who need this vaccine get just one shot.
  • PPSV23 Pneumovax23®: This vaccine helps protect against serious infections caused by 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Doctors give a single shot of this vaccine to people who need it, but the CDC recommends one or two additional shots for people with certain chronic medical conditions.
  • The Center for Disease Control recommends the PCV13 vaccine for:

    • All children younger than 2 years old
    • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions

    The CDC recommends PPSV23 for:

    • All adults 65 years or older
    • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
    • Smokers 19 through 64 years old

    What Causes Chest Infections

    Pneumonia and COVID

    A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or airways. The main types of chest infection are bronchitis and pneumonia.

    Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses. Most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria.

    These infections are usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This launches tiny droplets of fluid containing the virus or bacteria into the air. These droplets can then be breathed in by others.

    The infections can also be spread to others. This happens if you cough or sneeze onto your hand, an object or a surface, and someone else shakes your hand or touches those surfaces before touching their mouth or nose.

    Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious chest infections, such as:

    • babies and very young children
    • children with developmental problems
    • people who are very overweight
    • elderly people
    • pregnant women
    • people who smoke
    • people with long-term health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • people with a weakened immune system this could be due to a recent illness, a transplant, high-dose steroids, chemotherapy or a health condition, such as an undiagnosed HIV infection

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    How Does The Flu Become Pneumonia

    October 10, 2018 By Will Sowards

    Come flu season, every person of all ages is at risk of influenza. Every region across the world is susceptible to the contagious respiratory illness. Being different than a common cold, the flu can take effect suddenly and can range from mild to severe in illness.

    While many sick with the flu tend to recover within two weeks, some people can develop complications.

    One of those complications can lead to pneumonia. According to Everyday Health, one-third of pneumonia cases develop from a respiratory virus, with the flu the most common of those.

    Even if youve only contracted a mild case of influenza, the infection can severely weaken your immune system. Keep in mind that the virus even keeps your body from correctly taking in air.

    According to Shape, the flu constricts and inflames the airways in your body. This would then, slow down the movement of air and hinder your ability to clear mucus and secretions. This inflammation can cause an increase in your bodys mucus production.

    A buildup of bacteria would then form in your healthy body. Although the body would usually be able to fight the buildup away, influenza changes that. With a weakened immune system, your body may not be able to get over the foreign bacteria and viruses.

    This is how those with influenza can easily turn their flu into something much worse pneumonia.

    Did you know there were different types of pneumonia? Let us know in the comments, or via and .

    What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better

    In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:

    • Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
    • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
    • Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
    • Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
    • Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of A Common Cold

    The common cold is a simple illness that typically is not a serious infection. Its little more than a nuisance unless, of course, you’re the one with the cold symptoms.

    “Colds are caused by viruses, and the most common virus that causes the cold is rhinovirus,” says Aaron M. Milstone, MD, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

    While a common cold is no fun to deal with, it is not as dangerous as the influenza virus, which can spread to other people more quickly, and even kill, adds Dr. Milstone. There are also far fewer hospitalizations associated with the common cold than with the flu, he adds.

    The symptoms of the common cold often include:

    • Some muscle aches and headaches
    • Low or no fever

    Generally, says Milstone, people feel bad and a little run down for a couple of days, then start to perk up as the cold runs its course.

    A good way to tell whether you have the common cold or the flu is by how quickly the symptoms appear. Symptoms of the common cold take their time. Flu symptoms, on the other hand, hit fast.

    Clinical Features And Diagnosis

    Does the pneumonia vaccine fight the COVID-19 virus? Penn State Health Coronavirus 10

    The clinical diagnosis of pandemic influenza is based on:

    • the presence of fever , or

    • a history of fever and influenza-like illness , or

    • severe or life-threatening illness suggestive of an infectious process.

    Notably, gastrointestinal symptoms are more prominent in pH1N1 relative to seasonal influenza , and up to one-third of patients may be afebrile at presentation. Most adults with pH1N1 experience mild symptoms, with 50% recovering within seven days of symptom onset and a further 25% within 10 days.

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    Virally Enhanced Colonization And Attachment Of Bacteria

    It has become clear that influenza, as well as other upper respiratory tract viral infections, leads not only to a greater risk of infection from bacterial pathobionts but also an increased likelihood that an individual may become colonized with bacteria such as S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and S. aureus . found enhanced colonization and adherence of S. pneumoniae to the tracheal cells of mice when they were infected with influenza . Other studies have intranasally inoculated ferrets with influenza, finding prior viral infection increases colonization and adherence of S. aureus . Furthermore, poor disease outcome has been linked to lost lung repair function and loss of basal epithelial cells, including alveolar epithelial cells which is associated with increased bacterial attachment and apoptosis . conducted a study in which adult subjects were inoculated with influenza and then screened for bacterial colonization. After 6 days 15% of the subjects were heavily colonized by S. pneumoniae . Additionally, the effect of viral prevention methods further supports the idea of viruses predisposing a host to secondary bacterial infection . Studies have shown that influenza vaccination can reduce the occurrence of bacterial pneumonia .

    Questions To Ask Your Doctor

    • I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
    • Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
    • Am I contagious?
    • How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
    • What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
    • What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
    • What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
    • Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
    • Do I need any vaccines?

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