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How Can You Prevent Getting Pneumonia

How You Catch Pneumonia

What can I do to prevent getting pneumonia?

While anyone can catch pneumonia, some people are more likely to come down with illness when coming into contact with the germs. Like many other illnesses, pneumonia is caught through contact with the bacteria or virus that creates pneumonia.

Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways these germs spread.

Its also possible to catch the illness by touching something like a counter or door handle, sharing cups and utensils, and touching your face without washing your hands first.

Here Are Precautions One Must Take To Prevent Pneumonia During The Pandemic Listed By Dr Jeenam Shah Chest Physician And Interventional Pulmonologist

Reported By:| |Source: DNA webdesk |Updated: May 20, 2021, 02:43 PM IST

Pneumonia a lung infection, usually caused by bacteria or virus or fungus. Pneumonia affects the lungs’ air sacs called alveoli. Alveoli are filled with pus, fluid or making difficulty in breathing.

COVID is one of the possible factors contributing to pneumonia, there are many other causes as well. In most cases, the microorganisms overcome the body’s natural defences and go into the lungs and get multiply.

When respiratory droplets containing the virus enters the upper respiratory tract infection of SARS-CoV-2 beings. As the virus multiplies, infections keep increasing in the lungs which possibly results in developing pneumonia. The oxygen that we breathe into the lungs get mixed into the bloodstream inside the alveoli, which is the air sacs in the lungs. Hence, infection with SARS-CoV-2 may damage the alveoli and the tissues around them.

As the immune system fights with the virus, inflammation may cause dead cells and fluid to build up the lungs. These factors get restrict with the transfer of oxygen, resulting in the symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Hence people with COVID19 pneumonia can develop acute respiratory distress syndrome a respiratory failure that occurs when the air sacs in the lungs filled up with fluid which makes breathing hard. Many people with ARDS need the support of a ventilator to help them breathe.

– Wash your hands with soap or sanitiser at least for 20secs

How Long Does It Last

It takes a certain amount of time to start to feel sick after getting exposed to a germ. This length of time is called the incubation period, and it depends on many things, especially which bug is causing the illness.

With influenza pneumonia, for example, someone may become sick as soon as 12 hours or as long as 3 days after exposure to the flu virus. But with walking pneumonia, a person may not feel it until 2 to 3 weeks after becoming infected.

Most types of pneumonia clear up within a week or two, although a cough can linger for several weeks more. In severe cases, it may take longer to completely recover.

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Pneumonia Can Be Preventedvaccines Can Help

Some patients with coronavirus disease 2019 have had pneumonia. Learn more about COVID-19.

Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, needlessly affects millions of people worldwide each year.

Pneumonia can often be prevented and can usually be treated.

Lower your risk of pneumonia with vaccines and other healthy living practices.

CDC data showed that in the United States during 2018:

  • 1.5 million people were diagnosed with pneumonia in an emergency department
  • Approximately 44,000 people died from pneumonia

Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the United States are adults. Vaccines and appropriate treatment could prevent many of these deaths.

How To Recognize Pneumonia And Ways To Protect Yourself

This is the Underrated Disease That You Should Always Seek ...

A bout of the flu took a tragic turn for a young couple.

3d4Medical.com/Corbis

When Lori Ard and her fiancé Matt Renton contracted the H1N1 swine flu virus last January, she had no idea what a terrible course the illness would take. We expected to go away in a few days, but they didnt, Ard says. The influenza led to severe pneumonia, claiming Rentons life at the age of 35, and Ard wound up in the hospital with respiratory failure.

Pneumonia, an infection that causes inflammation in the lungs, affects millions of Americans each year. While it is often mild and generally responds well to treatment, it can be life-threatening, especially for the very young, the elderly, and people with chronic conditions.

The lung is a large organ, and its a vital organ, says Gerard Criner, MD, director of the Temple Lung Center in Philadelphia. If it gets infected and it compromises the primary function to support ventilation, thats a big contributor to morbidity and mortality. Its also a way for patients to become profoundly ill, and the infection can spread beyond that local tissue and into the bloodstream.

Roughly one-third of all pneumonia cases in this country are caused by respiratory viruses, most commonly influenza. As Jason Turowski, MD, a pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic, puts it, viruses set up shop and basically wreak havoc on your lungs. Other causes of pneumonia include bacteria and fungi.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children vary from child to child and also depend on your childs age, cause of the infection, and severity of their illness.

Usual symptoms include:

  • Cry more than usual. Are restless or more fussy.

Adolescents have the same symptoms as adults, including:

  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.

Newborns are at greater risk of pneumonia caused by bacteria present in the birth canal. In young children, viruses are the main cause of pneumonia.

Pneumonia caused by bacteria tends to happen suddenly, starting with fever and fast breathing. Symptoms appear more slowly and tend to be less severe when pneumonia is caused by viruses.

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.

Also Check: Signs Or Symptoms Of Pneumonia

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.

When Should You Call Your Doctor

Ways you can avoid pneumonia

The faster you get treatment, the faster you will get over pneumonia. This is especially true for the very young, for people older than 65, and for anyone with other long-lasting health problems, such as asthma.

911 or other emergency services immediately if you:

  • Have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing, is increasing in intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Have such bad trouble breathing that you are worried you will not have the strength or ability to keep breathing.
  • Cough up large amounts of blood.
  • Feel that you may faint when you sit up or stand.

if you have:

  • A cough that produces blood-tinged or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs.
  • A fever with shaking chills.
  • Difficult, shallow, fast breathing with shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Frequently brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs and lasts longer than 2 days. Do not confuse mucus from your lungs with mucus running down the back of your throat from your nasal passages . Post-nasal drainage is not a worry.
  • Occurs with a fever of 38.3°C or higher and brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs .
  • Causes you to vomit a lot.
  • Continues longer than 4 weeks.

Also call your doctor if you have new chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing and if you have other symptoms of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, cough, and fever.

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How Do You Get Pneumonia

You may get pneumonia:

  • After you breathe infected air particles into your lungs.
  • After you breathe certain bacteria from your nose and throat into your lungs.
  • During or after a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or influenza .
  • As a complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox.
  • If you breathe large amounts of food, gastric juices from the stomach, or vomit into the lungs . This can happen when you have had a medical condition that affects your ability to swallow, such as a seizure or a stroke.

A healthy person’s nose and throat often contain bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can develop when these organisms spread to your lungs while your lungs are more likely to be infected. Examples of times when this can happen are during or soon after a cold or if you have a long-term illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .

You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work or when you are in a hospital or nursing home . Treatment may differ in healthcare-associated pneumonia, because bacteria causing the infection in hospitals may be different from those causing it in the community. This topic focuses on community-associated pneumonia.

Can I Prevent Pneumonia

The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.

People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.

Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.

Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.

You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.

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A Lukewarm Bath Or Compress

Soaking the body in lukewarm water may help cool it down.

If it is not possible to take a bath, apply towels or washcloths to the body after dunking them in lukewarm water and wringing them out. This may help the body cool. When the towels warm up, dip them in the water again and reapply.

Chills are often a secondary symptom of a fever. The following home remedies may help ease chills:

What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia

Seasonal Flu (Influenza)
  • Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
  • If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
  • Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
  • Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
  • Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.

If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.

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Lower Your Risk By Getting Vaccinated

In the United States, vaccines can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia:

These vaccines are safe, but side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild and go away on their own within a few days. See the vaccine information statements to learn more about common side effects. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines side effects.

Encourage friends and loved ones to make sure they are up to date with their vaccines.

World Pneumonia Dayexternal icon is observed each year on November 12th. Globally, pneumonia kills more than 670,000 children younger than 5 years old each year. This is greater than the number of deaths from any infectious disease, such as HIV infection, malaria, or tuberculosis.

Be Aware Of Your General Health

  • Since pneumonia often follows respiratory infections, be aware of any symptoms that linger more than a few days.
  • Good health habitsa healthy diet, rest, regular exercise, etc.help you from getting sick from viruses and respiratory illnesses. They also help promote fast recovery when you do get a cold, the flu or other respiratory illness.

If you have children, talk to their doctor about:

  • Hib vaccine, which prevents pneumonia in children from Haemophilus influenza type b
  • A drug called Synagis , which is given to some children younger than 24 months to prevent pneumonia caused by respiratory syncytial virus .

If you have cancer or HIV, talk to your doctor about additional ways to prevent pneumonia and other infections.

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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.

Is There A Vaccine For Pneumonia

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There isnt a vaccine for all types of pneumonia, but 2 vaccines are available. These help prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The first is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. The second is recommended for anyone age 2 or older who is at increased risk for pneumonia. Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:

  • Are 65 years of age or older.
  • Smoke.
  • Have certain chronic conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis.
  • Have a weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged or removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or receiving chemotherapy.
  • Have cochlear implants .

The pneumococcal vaccines cant prevent all cases of pneumonia. But they can make it less likely that people who are at risk will experience the severe, and possibly life-threatening, complications of pneumonia.

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In Older Adults And Children

Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms, such as having no fever or having a cough with no mucus . The major sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how clearly they think or when a lung disease they already have gets worse.

In children, symptoms may depend on age:

  • In infants younger than 1 month of age, symptoms may include having little or no energy , feeding poorly, grunting, or having a fever.
  • In children, symptoms of pneumonia are often the same as in adults. Your doctor will look for signs such as a cough and a faster breathing rate.

Some conditions with symptoms similar to pneumonia include bronchitis, COPD, and tuberculosis.

Pneumonia Prevention And How To Care For Your Child

During the winter, the flu isnt the only illness were at risk forpneumonia is a culprit too. In fact, weve seen the topic of pneumonia in the media lately because former First Lady Barbara Bush was hospitalized for the illness, according to the New York Times. Pneumonia is more serious than a regular cold, which is what inspired my RN Remedies blog post, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Pneumonia and this post. Continue reading for prevention tips and how to care for your child if they become ill with pneumonia.

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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.

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