The Lower Respiratory Tract Includes:
- Right and left bronchi respectively These are divisions of the main bronchus. Bronchi enter into the lungs. The bronchus and bronchi are supported by rings of cartilage.
- Bronchioles Smaller branches of bronchi within the lungs
- Alveoli Bronchioles terminate in small air filled sacs
- Lungs Right lung is divided into upper, middle and lower lobes. Whereas the left lung is divided into just two lobes as the upper and lower.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Pneumonia
How do you get pneumonia? The majority of the germs that cause infection are spread from person to person through droplets, from coughing or sneezing.
- A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus or cancer
People who smoke are at higher risk for pneumonia, as are people on immunosuppressive medications, and people who are frequently in close, crowded spaces with others, such as college students and military personnel.
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
You May Like: How Does One Know If They Have Pneumonia
How To Know If You Have Pneumonia
You’re coughing, feverish, achy – is it just a bad cold or something worse? House Call Doctor helps you determine if your illness is a run of the mill cold or the more dangerous pneumonia
Scientific American presents House Call Doctor by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.
Its wintertime its cold, wet, and often filled with viruses and bacteria running rampant through the air.
Many of us will get sick at least once during the winter season and although its more than likely to be the common cold or flu that we contract, some illnesses can wreak havoc on our holiday plans and bodies.
Pneumonia is one of these nasty illnesses we all wish we could wipe off the face of this earth.
Like many people, you may have developed a nasty cough this winter. But how can you tell its just another virus or if its actually something more serious like pneumonia? Lets find out and learn all about pneumonia in todays episode.
Is Pneumonia Treated Any Differently In Children
Essentially no. Just like adults, bacterial causes of pneumonia in children may be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are not used to treat pneumonia caused by viruses. Flu-related pneumonia may be treated with antiviral medicine if caught early in the course of illness. Most cases of pneumonia are treated with comfort care measures that ease symptoms. These may include:
- Drinking more fluids.
- Getting more rest.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines for cough and acetaminophen for fever. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicines to your child.
- Using a cool mist humidifier in your childs room.
Don’t Miss: What Are The First Signs Of Pneumonia
Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
Walking Pneumonia Vs Bronchitis Symptoms
Both bronchitis and walking pneumonia have similar symptoms, but the two diseases are not the same. Bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes, not the small airways of the lungs.
Bronchitis symptoms may include:
- runny, stuffy nose
- shortness of breath
The main difference is that the recovery time tends to be shorter with acute bronchitis than with pneumonia. But recovering from chronic bronchitis may take a long time.
Also Check: Pneumonia Dry Or Wet Cough
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
What Are The Causes Of Pneumonia
The table below will help you understand different types of pneumonia and how they are caused. Each type of pneumonia has plenty of causative organisms or mechanisms.
|Type of Pneumonia|
|Tuberculosis, salmonella typhi and paratyphi, SARS, H1N1, leptospirosis|
Streptococcus Pneumonia responsible for maximum cases of pneumonia and often results in severe forms of pneumonia.
H. Influenza Pneumonia occurs commonly in patients having chronic underlying lung affections. Legionella air conditioners are the most common source.
Read Also: Early Warning Signs Of Pneumonia
Diagnostic Tests And Procedures
If your doctor thinks you have pneumonia, he or she may do one or more of the following tests.
- Chest X-ray to look for inflammation in your lungs. A chest X-ray is often used to diagnose pneumonia.
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count to see whether your immune system is fighting an infection.
- Pulse oximetry to measure how much oxygen is in your blood. Pneumonia can keep your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your blood. To measure the levels, a small sensor called a pulse oximeter is attached to your finger or ear.
If you are in the hospital, have serious symptoms, are older, or have other health problems, your doctor may do other tests to diagnose pneumonia.
Complications And Risk Factors
Pneumonia can sometimes cause serious complications and become life-threatening. Potential complications can include:
- breathing difficulties or even respiratory failure, which can require being placed on a ventilator in order to get oxygen
- worsening of chronic lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- fluid accumulation in the lungs, which can become infected and may need to be drained
- lung abscess, which is the formation of a pocket of pus in your lung
- bacteremia, when bacteria spread into your bloodstream, possibly leading to
People that may be at risk for more serious symptoms or complications include:
- children under 2 years old
- adults over 65 years old
There are several types of pneumonia. They can be classified by how you get the infection.
Read Also: Do You Have A Fever When You Have Pneumonia
What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Anyone can experience complications from pneumonia. However, people in high-risk groups are more likely to develop complications, including:
- Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can make breathing difficult. Pneumonia plus an existing lung disorder can make breathing even more difficult. Breathing difficulties may require a hospital stay to receive oxygen therapy or breathing and healing assistance with the use of a breathing machine .
- Fluid buildup in the lungs : Pneumonia can cause a buildup in the fluid between the membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. It is a serious condition that makes breathing difficult. Pleural effusion can be treated by draining excess fluid with a catheter, chest tube or by surgery.
- Bacteria in the bloodstream : The bacteria that cause pneumonia can leave your lungs and enter your bloodstream, spreading the infection to other organs. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
- Lung abscess. A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the lung that is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated by draining the pus with a long needle or removing it by surgery.
What Are The Types Of Pneumonia
There are many different types of pneumonia that are generally categorized based on where an infection was acquired and the underlying cause of the infection. Some common categories of pneumonia include:
- Community-acquired pneumonia: When pneumonia occurs in people who have not recently been in the hospital, it is classified as community-acquired pneumonia. This includes walking pneumonia, which is a nonmedical term that refers to pneumonia with mild symptoms.
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia: This type of pneumonia develops as a result of an infection contracted while a person is in a hospital.
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia: A ventilator is a device that uses a breathing tube to help people who are not able to breathe on their own. When people contract pneumonia as a result of using a ventilator, it is called ventilator-associated pneumonia.
- Pneumocystis pneumonia: This type of pneumonia is caused by a fungal infection and is most common in people who have a weakened immune system.
- Aspiration pneumonia: Aspiration pneumonia can occur when food, saliva, vomit, or another substance manages to enter the lungs. These substances can carry infectious pathogens or inflame or block the lungs and cause a pneumonia infection.
Recognizing the category of pneumonia can help doctors more quickly identify the specific germ causing the infection and initiate the treatment that is most likely to be effective.
You May Like: Is The Pneumonia Shot Safe
What’s The Link Between Covid
A quick refresher first: COVID-19 is a serious respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. It can lead to a range of intense symptoms, including a cough, fever, trouble breathing, and loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Pneumonia is an infection of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people, the CDC says.
Some patients with COVID-19 develop pneumoniain fact, the World Health Organization first called the virus -infected pneumonia , before shortening the name to COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was also first identified in Wuhan, China due to cases of “pneumonia of unknown etiology,” or unknown cause, the WHO reported in January 2020.
It’s not uncommon to develop pneumonia as the result of any virus, Raymond Casciari, MD, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells Health. In the case of COVID-19, the virus can damage your alveoli and cause fluid to build in your lungs as your body fights the infection, he explains. That can also lead to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome , which is a serious form of respiratory failure that makes the alveoli fill with fluid. “The immune system starts attacking the lung itself, which results in ARDS,” Dr. Casciari says.
RELATED: Why Do Some People Die From Pneumonia?
Some More Details About Our Respiratory Tract:
- The airways are lined extensively by smooth muscles, goblet cells which are responsible for mucus production and hair-like projections called Cilia. Goblet cells trap particulate matter or micro-organisms and ciliary movements help to push them out of the airways.
- The respiratory tract is studded with lymph nodes for effective drainage of infective organisms and toxins. The thoracic duct passes from near the trachea.
- Each part of the airway is rich in blood and nerve supply.
- The alveoli are mainly responsible for the gaseous exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Pneumocytes within the alveoli are responsible for gaseous exchange and production of surfactant-a fluid which prevents the alveoli from collapsing.
- The lungs are covered externally by the parietal and visceral pleura. The pleural cavity contains pleural fluid which works as a shock absorber and a transporter of nutrients and fluids from and into the lungs.
- The lungs are protected therefore direct trauma to the lungs is a very rare occurrence.
To know if you have bronchitis or pneumonia, it is vital to know that both of these clinical entities are affections of the lower respiratory tract. Further details of this article will help you understand if you have pneumonia or bronchitis or if you have both at the same time and how to differentiate between the two.
Don’t Miss: Treatment For Pneumonia In Elderly
Who Should Get Testing
Testing is most often performed if you have symptoms that could be caused by pneumonia. This testing can help diagnose or rule out pneumonia as a cause of those symptoms.
The decision to order a pneumonia test is determined by a doctor based on your specific situation. You should talk to a doctor or nurse if:
- You have a cough that is persistent or worsening
- You have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- You experience chest pain when breathing
- You have recovered from a cold or flu and then quickly found that your symptoms worsened
It is especially important to see a doctor about these symptoms if you have risk factors for developing more complicated pneumonia. Make sure to reach out to a health care professional if you are over 65 years old, have a preexisting lung condition, and/or have a compromised immune system.
If you have already been diagnosed with pneumonia, you may have additional testing to learn more about the cause and severity of your condition. Follow-up testing can also be used to observe how well treatment is working.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
Read Also: Can Being Wet And Cold Cause Pneumonia
Sputum Culture And Gram Stain
The gold standard for diagnosing bacterial infection is culture. Unfortunately, collecting a good-quality sputum sample can be difficult, especially if someone has a dry cough. It often gets contaminated with normal bacteria that live in the respiratory tract.
A sample should be collected before you are treated with antibiotics. You’ll be asked to cough up some sputum with as little saliva as possible. If you are having trouble doing so, a healthcare provider may use a device with a light and tiny camera placed down your throat. They will help relax you with medications during the procedure, and there are few side effects outside of a potential slightly sore throat.
Once collected, a Gram stain is applied to part of the specimen and examined under a microscope. A good-quality sputum sample will show several white blood cells but few epithelial cells. Bacteria will appear red or violet and, based on their appearance, can be categorized as one of two classes of bacteria. Narrowing the diagnosis makes it easier to choose an appropriate antibiotic.
To find out what specific bacteria is causing your illness, your sample will be cultured in Petri dishes. Once the bacteria or fungi grow, it is tested against different antibiotics to see what treatments will be most effective.
Take Steps To Protect Yourself And Others
The following steps can help you prevent spreading the infection to others around you.
- Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Get rid of used tissues right away.
- Limit contact with family and friends.
- Wash your hands often, especially after coughing and sneezing.
Some people get pneumonia again and again. Tell your doctor if this happens. Return to Prevention to find more strategies to help prevent pneumonia.
Read Also: Best Home Remedy For Pneumonia
What To Do If You Have Covid
Minimize your chances of contracting COVID-19 or pneumonia this season. Maintain social distance, wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching your face. If you do experience symptoms, talk to your doctor. At Nova Health, we offer both telemedicine and in-person appointments, with walk-ins and same-day appointments available at many of our urgent care centers. Your doctor will diagnose the cause of your symptoms and help you create a treatment plan for improvement.
How To Determine If You Have Pneumonia
This article was medically reviewed by Victor Catania, MD. Dr. Catania is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his MD from the Medical University of the Americas in 2012 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Robert Packer Hospital. He is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 75,807 times.
Research shows that pneumonia is an infection of the air sacs in your lungs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source This infection is most dangerous for children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, and it can become life-threatening. Experts note that if you recognize the symptoms and seek medical help right away, pneumonia can be treated effectively.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
Don’t Miss: At What Age Should You Get A Pneumonia Vaccine