Causes And Types Of Pneumonia
Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause pneumonia. In the United States, common causes of viral pneumonia are influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus , and SARS-CoV-2 . A common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae . These bacteria can cause a wide range of infectionslike pneumoniaknown as pneumococcal disease.
There are several ways people can get sick with pneumonia:
- Community-acquired pneumonia ,
- Healthcare-associated pneumonia, and
Learn more about the causes of pneumonia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe. The symptoms depend on the type of germ that caused the infection, your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms of pneumonia are often similar the symptoms of a cold or flu, but the effects of pneumonia last longer.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower-than-normal body temperature
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
Newborns and infants may not show any sign or symptoms of the infection. However, they may vomit, have a fever, cough, be restless or tired, or have difficulty breathing and eating.
Limit Contact With Others
One of the best things you can do when recovering from pneumonia is to limit your contact with others. As weve learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemicwhich can cause viral pneumoniastaying at least six feet away from others reduces the amount of viral or bacterial content they are exposed to as you breathe or talk.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Antibiotic To Treat Pneumonia
How Do I Prevent Pneumonia
December 20, 2021 By Will Sowards
Once known as The Winter Fever, pneumonia is an illness that millions are affected with each year, throughout the world.It is an infection of the lungs, where one can also get a fever, muscle aches, chills, and of course, the hallmark of the infection, coughing. In certain cases, it can even lead to death.
Streptococcus pneumonia is the bacteria behind the infection. It was first identified under a microscope in 1875 by Edwin Klebs, a German pathologist. His work would pave the way for Albert Fraenkel and Carl Friedlander, who would go on to discover the two most common types of bacteria causing pneumonia. In 1881, the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur, as well as George Sternberg, an American microbiologist both separately found the lancet-shaped bacteria in saliva.
But, symptoms of pneumonia have been recorded even earlier than that, dating all the way back to 460 B.C. The Greek physician Hippocrates observed them, calling them peripneumonia, and describing the symptoms just as we know them today, chest pain and cough.
In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, pneumonia was the third-leading cause of death. In the 1930s, sulfapyridine, an antibacterial medication gained a small bit of notoriety when it was used to treat former Prime Minister Winston Churchills bacterial pneumonia. But, with the discovery of penicillin, sulfapyridine was quickly set aside for this new method of treatment.
Filed Under: General Posts
The Flu Pneumonia And Inflammation Create A Deadly Threat
Pneumococcal pneumonia can follow other viral infections, particularly influenza, says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The biology behind it:The flu virus attaches to, and infects, the cells lining the mucous membranes in the back of the throat, nose and bronchial tubes. Normally, the cells eject infectious agents out of the body via the nose or mouth, or they’re simply swallowed. But when impaired by the flu, the cells lining these membranes allow the bacteria to slip down into the bronchial tubes and trigger a secondary infection, in the lungs. The infection inflames the air sacs in the lungs, causing them to fill with pus and fluid. That not only makes it hard to breathe but can allow bacteria to escape into the bloodstream, causing an infection called sepsis, an aggressive inflammatory response that can, ultimately, lead to organ failure.
Pneumococcal pneumonia, of course, is also likely be a complication of respiratory syncytial virus , a common and highly contagious winter lung infection, whichuncharacteristicallyspread this summer, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the pneumococcal vaccine wont shield you from pneumonia that results from either of them. As Schaffner puts it, Pneumonia from Covid is a different sort of pneumonia.
Don’t Miss: Do You Need A Second Pneumonia Shot
Problems That Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine
- People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you or your child:
- Feel dizzy
- Have vision changes
- Have ringing in the ears
Pneumonia Vaccine May Affect Course Of Covid
Kaiser Permanente research finds older adults vaccinated with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine received some protection against COVID-19.
PASADENA, Calif. A Kaiser Permanente study showed that one type of pneumonia vaccine, the PCV13 vaccine, may affect the course of COVID-19 for some older adult patients. The study was published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Kaiser Permanente members who received the PCV13 vaccine appeared to be diagnosed with COVID-19 less often, and when they were, they seemed to have less severe outcomes, overall, said the senior author, Sara Y. Tartof, PhD, MPH, a scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. One of the most interesting aspects of our findings was that the patients who received PCV13 received some protection against COVID-19, while those who received PPSV23, another pneumococcal vaccine, did not.
When the virus that causes COVID-19 infects a new person, it encounters a diverse array of viral and bacterial species that naturally reside in the human upper airway. One of these species is a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, which is commonly carried by children as well as adults. While typically harmless, this bacterium is well known for causing pneumonia and other diseases, often in interaction with viruses.
Among adults ages 65 years old and older, those who received the pneumonia vaccine PCV13 had:
Recommended Reading: Does Pneumonia Cause Blood Clots
For Protection Against Pneumonia More Than One Vaccine Can Help
- By , Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
If you havent gotten your flu shot yet this year, dont wait much longerinfluenza season is just around the corner. Yearly flu shots are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. If you need some added incentive, consider this: The influenza virus can cause not only the typical flu symptoms , but it can cause viral pneumonia in some people and nudge others to develop bacterial pneumonia. And despite many advances in understanding the causes and treatment of this serious lung infection, its still a major cause of death in the United States, according to an article in todays New England Journal of Medicine.
Each year, about a million people in the U. S. are hospitalized with pneumonia and 50,000 die from it.
Some people think that pneumonia is caused only by bacteria. But in fact, you can get pneumonia from a whole array of different viruses, bacteria, and even fungi, says study co-author Dr. Anna Thorner, an infectious disease specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
What You Need To Know About Pneumonia And Flu Shots
This article was first published in The Montreal Gazette.
Recently, Oprah got pneumonia. Then she went on Ellen to recommend that everyone get their flu and pneumonia shots. Given that only 42 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 got the pneumonia vaccine in 2016, maybe Oprah can get us over the 80 per cent target.
Sadly, Oprah has not always been a strong advocate for science. She gave a platform to Jenny McCarthy when she started claiming that vaccines caused her sons autism, and she also introduced the world to Dr. Oz.
But as Oprah explained to Ellen, pneumonia is no joke. Around 1.5 million people are hospitalized with pneumonia every year. Around 100,000 die in hospital and a third of people hospitalized with pneumonia die within the year.
Older patients are at greater risk and so are those with pre-existing lung disease. Smoking is also a risk factor for pneumonia, so if you need an extra incentive to stop smoking, this is it. But the main way to prevent pneumonia is with vaccines.
The problem with the pneumonia vaccine is not one of efficacy. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 18 randomized trials found that the pneumonia vaccine led to a substantial reduction in infections. The problem is which pneumonia vaccine to give people.
And if you wont listen to me, at least listen to Oprah.
Want to comment on this article? Visit our FB Page!
Read Also: How Often Do Seniors Need Pneumonia Vaccine
What To Know About The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Who needs it: The CDC recommends one pneumococcal vaccine for adults 19 to 64 with certain risk factors . If you work around chronically ill people say, in a hospital or nursing home you should get the vaccine, even if you’re healthy. People 65 and older can discuss with their health care provider whether they should get PCV13 if they haven’t previously received a dose. A dose of PPSV23 is recommended for those 65 and older, regardless of previous inoculations with pneumococcal vaccines.
How often: Space immunizations out. You should receive a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , then, a year later, a dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine . People with any of the risk factors should get one dose of PCV13 and PPSV23 before age 65, separated by eight weeks.
Why you need it: Pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, kills around 3,000 people a year. Young children and those over 65 have the highest incidence of serious illness, and older adults are more likely to die from it.
Editors note: This article was published on Oct. 26, 2020. It was updated in September 2021 with new information.
Also of Interest
Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Like most vaccines, the childhood and adult versions of the pneumococcal vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects.
- redness where the injection was given
- hardness or swelling where the injection was given
There are no serious side effects listed for either the childhood or adult versions of the vaccine, apart from an extremely rare risk of a severe allergic reaction .
Read Also: Pneumonia Shot For 65 And Older
The Different Types Of Pneumococcal Vaccine
The type of pneumococcal vaccine you’re given depends on your age and health. There are 2 types.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is used to vaccinate children under 2 years old as part of the NHS vaccination schedule. It’s known by the brand name Prevenar 13.
Children at risk of pneumococcal infections can have the PPV vaccine from the age of 2 years onwards. The PPV vaccine is not very effective in children under the age of 2.
Who Should Get The Vaccine
People over age 65. As you age, your immune system doesnât work as well as it once did. Youâre more likely to have trouble fighting off a pneumonia infection. All adults over age 65 should get the vaccine.
Those with weakened immune systems. Many diseases can cause your immune system to weaken, so itâs less able to fight off bugs like pneumonia.
People who smoke. If youâve smoked for a long time, you could have damage to the small hairs that line the insides of your lungs and help filter out germs. When theyâre damaged, they arenât as good at stopping those bad germs.
People getting over surgery or a severe illness. If you were in the hospital ICU and needed help breathing with a ventilator, youâre at risk of getting pneumonia. The same is true if youâve just had major surgery or if youâre healing from a serious injury. When your immune system is weak because of illness or injury or because itâs helping you get better from surgery, you canât fight off germs as well as you normally can.
Also Check: Pneumonia Cough Worse At Night
Who Should Have The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Anyone can get a pneumococcal infection. But some people are at higher risk of serious illness, so it’s recommended they’re given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS.
- adults aged 65 or over
- children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition
Babies are offered 2 doses of pneumococcal vaccine, at 12 weeks and at 1 year of age.
People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu jab.
If you have a long-term health condition you may only need a single, one-off pneumococcal vaccination, or a vaccination every 5 years, depending on your underlying health problem.
Are There Treatments For Covid
Clinical trials are looking into whether some drugs and treatments used for other conditions might treat severe COVID-19 or related pneumonia, including dexamethasone, a corticosteroid.
The FDA has approved the antiviral remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID. The drug was origininally developed to treat the Ebola virus.
Recommended Reading: Nebulizer For Pneumonia At Home
Things You Should Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus, which makes it harder to breathe. The most common symptoms are cough that may be dry or produce phlegm, fever, chills and fatigue. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the chest. and shortness of breath. Signs that indicate a more severe infection are shortness of breath, confusion, decreased urination and lightheadedness. In the U.S., pneumonia accounts for 1.3 visits to the Emergency Department, and 50,000 deaths annually.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect people around the world, pneumonia has become an even larger health concern. Some people infected with the COVID-19 have no symptoms, while others may experience fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell.
The more severe symptoms of COV-19, such as high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, usually mean significant lung involvement. The lungs can be damaged by overwhelming COVID-19 viral infection, severe inflammation, and/or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. COVID-19 can lead to long lasting lung damage.
Here are other important facts you should know about pneumonia:,
Everything You Need To Know About The Pneumonia Vaccine
During the winter months, many people think that they have a nasty cold or flu, but it turns out to be pneumonia an illness that can be life threatening in certain people. A vaccine can help lower your chance of contracting pneumonia. While the pneumonia vaccine does not prevent all cases of pneumonia, it reduces the severity of the disease.
That is especially important for older adults and if you have certain medical conditions that put you at greater risk for complications.
Now is the time to talk to your doctor about your risks and if you need a vaccine to protect you against pneumonia.
Niharika Juwarkar, MD, Internal Medicine with Firelands Physician Group, answers your most frequently asked questions about pneumonia and the risks.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a respiratory lung infection that is often mistaken for the flu. Your lungs become filled with fluid or pus that results in inflammation. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, but pneumonia can last for weeks and result in very serious complications.
While pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, most cases are due to a specific bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae, more commonly known as pneumococcal pneumonia. This form can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor can test to see what form of pneumonia you have. Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have and the severity of your symptoms. But, the best defense is vaccination.
Who is most at risk for pneumonia?
Also Check: Which Type Of Pneumonia Is Contagious
About The Pneumonia Vaccine
Pneumonia is a common enough illness, but its one that can have potentially devastating reactions. Fortunately, theres a way to prevent the serious side effects of the disease, and possibly prevent someone from getting it to begin with.
The pneumonia vaccine is a safe way to prevent most cases, and effectively lowers the chances of catching the disease entirely. People who do get pneumonia after getting the pneumonia vaccination anyway will have a much milder case of the disease if they do happen to contract it.