Pneumonia is most places is still believed to be caused by exposure to cold weather or cold in general. This is not true. Many forms of the disease are treatable by Antibiotics. Some forms can be prevented by vaccines.
What is Pneumonia
It is simply an infection of the Lungs that causes it to be filled with fluid or pus. It can be due to bacterial, fungal, or viral causes.
The Lung is the organ of the body that is responsible for breathing. The air (oxygen) your take in through your nose goes into the lungs, from where it goes to the rest of the body, through the blood. The air that has been used by the body (carbon dioxide) is also sent to the lungs that send it out of your body through your nose.
When the lungs become filled with fluid or pus, they would not be able to perform this function effectively.
What Causes Pneumonia
Some bacterial or viral agents reduce the ability of the lungs to do their work causing pneumonia.
Examples of these agents are:
- Streptococcus: this is the commonest cause.
- Haemophilus Influenza: this is also known to cause pneumonia especially in children and the elderly population.
Other organisms are Mycoplasma & Chlamydia pneumoniae, which are seen more often in young persons.
Viral agents causing Pneumonia includes; Coronavirus,
Symptoms of Pneumonia
Persons having this disease would show some of the following symptoms;
- Fever with chills, rigors, shivering, and vomiting.
- Cough, followed by the production of sputum (spit) that may be brown in colour.
- Some persons would have a poor appetite and a headache.
- Others might have chest pain which some others may even be vomiting blood. This vomiting of blood is also seen in people with Tuberculosis, which is deadlier than Pneumonia.
How Is Pneumonia Transmitted
Transmission of the organisms that cause pneumonia is through respiratory droplets. That is if anyone that has the disease is around you and coughs. You can also become infected with it.
What is the Treatment for Pneumonia
The treatment depends on the severe nature of the disease. Treatment is with Antibiotics depending on the organism responsible for the disease.
Anyone with any of the symptoms above is to visit the hospital for confirmation of diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Do not self-medicate.
Prevention of Pneumonia
Vaccination: against Influenza and pneumococcal should be given to every child. Note that this vaccination is free & is part of the Nigerian NPI schedule for immunization.