Covid Can Damage Your Lungs To A Great Extent Thus Taking Care Of This Organ Post
Written by Satata Karmakar | Updated : January 3, 2022 4:51 PM IST
Pneumonia, a common lung infection that can affect one or both the lungs and lead to inflammation in the air sacs called alveoli, is one of the most common symptoms of deadly coronavirus infection. COVID-19 causing SARS-CoV2 virus was first identified in Chinas Wuhan in 2019, ever since then in the last two years, the virus has mutated and formed several virulent strains which mainly target the lungs. While some people experience only mild to moderate symptoms of the infection, others can end up fighting long-term health issues from the virus. Experts have also stated that the risk of developing a lung infection is higher among those who are infected or have recovered from COVID-19. With the arrival of another contagious strain Omicron, lets know from the experts the various warning symptoms that the lungs of a COVID recovered patient may show to indicate pneumonia.
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How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better
How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:
- Your age
- The cause of your pneumonia
- The severity of your pneumonia
- If you have other at-risk conditions
If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age and your overall health.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
- Confusion, especially in older people
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How Is Pneumonia Treated
How pneumonia is treated depends on the germs that cause it.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. The specific antibiotic choice depends on such factors as your general health, other health conditions you may have, the type of medications you are currently taking , your recent use of antibiotics, any evidence of antibiotic resistance in the local community and your age. Medicines to relieve pain and lower fever may also be helpful. Ask your doctor if you should take a cough suppressant. Its important to be able to cough to clear your lungs.
- Viral pneumonia: Antibiotics are not used to fight viruses. There are no treatments for most viral causes of pneumonia. However, if the flu virus is thought to be the cause, antiviral drugs might be prescribed, such as oseltamivir , zanamivir , or peramivir , to decrease the length and severity of the illness. Over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain and lower fever are usually recommended. Other medicines and therapies such as breathing treatments and exercises to loosen mucus may be prescribed by your doctor.
- Fungal pneumonia: Antifungal medication is prescribed if a fungus is the cause of your pneumonia.
Fluid In The Lungs Can Be A Really Severe Condition So It’s Vital To Find Out Its Causes Symptoms And Treatments To Prevent Or Heal This Condition
The lungs are located within the chest, just under the rib cage. They are critical for breathing in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Compared to other organs in the chest, the lungs are considered relatively large. They are located on either side of the heart in two cavities. Although at first glance the two cavities look identical, the right cavity is made up of three lobes and the left cavity is made up of two lobes. Each of the lobes is composed of clusters of alveoli or air sacs, which is where the gases are exchanged and then oxygen is taken up by the bloodstream for transport throughout the body.
The process of breathing is continuous provided if the alveoli are intact and functioning normally. However, the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, also called pulmonary edema, compromises the lung’s ability to uptake oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide. Pulmonary edema is a medical condition that is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs, inflammation of the lungs, and difficulty breathing. This article will explore the symptoms, causes and treatment strategies for pulmonary edema.
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How To Use The Incentive Spirometer
Treatment For Fluid On The Lung
When cancer affects the lungs, fluid can sometimes collect between the sheets of tissue that cover the outside of the lung and the lining of the chest cavity. These sheets of tissue are called the pleura.
Doctors call this fluid collection a pleural effusion.
The fluid stops the lung from fully expanding when you breathe. So as it builds up, the collected fluid causes shortness of breath.
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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.
How Is Empyema And Lung Infection Diagnosed
Your BWH thoracic surgeon may conduct the following diagnostic tests and procedures after noticing an abnormal sound when listening to your chest with a stethoscope:
- Chest CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
- Chest X-ray uses invisible radiation energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film or digital media.
- Thoracentesis, where a needle is inserted through the back of the ribcage into the pleural space to remove fluid or air.
- Pleural fluid analysis examines the fluid under a microscope to look for bacteria, protein and cancer cells.
- Ultrasound uses sound waves to tell where the fluid is located.
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Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
- Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
How Can Parents Help
Kids with pneumonia need to get plenty of rest and drink lots of liquids while the body works to fight the infection.
If your child has bacterial pneumonia and the doctor prescribed antibiotics, give the medicine on schedule for as long as directed. Keeping up with the medicine doses will help your child recover faster and help prevent the infection from spreading to others in the family. If your child is wheezing, the doctor might recommend using breathing treatments.
Ask the doctor before you use a medicine to treat your child’s cough. Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not recommended for any kids under 6 years old. If your child doesnt seem to be feeling better in a few days, call your doctor for advice.
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What Is Valley Fever
Valley fever, also called coccidioidomycosis, is an infection in the lungs caused by a Coccidioides fungus that is usually found in the southwest United States, Central and South America, and Washington state. The condition is usually mild and gets better on its own, but some people with moderate to severe infections may need antifungal drugs to cure the disease. Valley fever is also known as San Joaquin Valley Fever or desert rheumatism.
How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.
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What Are The Chances A Pleural Effusion Will Happen Again
My patients always want to know if it will come back, says Dr. Puchalski. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesnt. He explains that the risk of recurrence is based mostly on the cause of the pleural effusion in the first place. For lung cancer patients, he explains, the buildup is likely to occur again.
What Are The Risk Factors
Anyone can get pneumonia, but many factors can increase your chances of getting sick and having a more severe illness. One of the most important factors is your age. People age 65 and over are at increased risk because their immune system is becoming less able to fight off infection as years go by. Infants and children two years of age or younger are also at increased risk because their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
Other risk factors can be grouped into three main categories: medical conditions, health behaviors, and environment.
- Chronic lung diseases such as COPD, bronchiectasis, or cystic fibrosis that make the lungs more vulnerable.
- Other serious chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and sickle cell disease.
- A weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDs, an organ transplant, chemotherapy or long-term steroid use.
- Difficulty swallowing, due to stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or other neurological conditions, which can result in aspiration of food, vomit or saliva into the lungs that then becomes infected.
- Recent viral respiratory infectiona cold, laryngitis, influenza, etc.
- Hospitalization, especially when in intensive care and using a ventilator to breathe.
- Cigarette smoking, which damages the lungs.
- Drug and alcohol abuse, which increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia.
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Things That You Can Do To Help Your Child At Home Are
- Control the fever with the proper medicine and right strength for the age of your child. Fevers lower than 101° F do not need to be treated unless the child is uncomfortable .
- Give your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- See that your child gets lots of rest.
- Do not give over-the-counter cough medicines or other OTC medicines without asking the health provider first. The child needs to cough and bring up the phlegm. Coughing is the bodys way of clearing the infection from the lungs.
- Avoid exposing your child to tobacco smoke or other irritants in the air.
Can Pneumonia Be Treated
Yes, with antibiotics to kill the bug and by giving the patient additional oxygen to boost the oxygen level in the blood. Most bacteria are killed readily by antibiotic treatments, although antibiotic resistance can be a problem on occasions. Some viruses and fungi are actually quite hard to kill with antibiotics, but these infections are rare unless someone has a weakened immune system. Pneumonia occasionally can lead to infection of the surface of the lung, called empyema, and this may need insertion of a tube to drain the infected fluid or even surgery. COVID-19 causes the immune system to over-react to the presence of the virus leading to more lung inflammation than is needed to kill the virus it is treated with drugs that reduce the inflammatory response to the viral infection including dexamethasone, a steroid.
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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.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
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Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
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