Pneumonia is a contagious disease that mostly affects children and people who have a weakened immune system like: HIV, organ transplanted people, cancer, and chemotherapy. Smoking, drinking alcohol, working in cold places are also factors of risk.
If left untreated it can cause serious complications like lung edemas, encephalitis and even death within 3 or 4 days.
Generally pneumonia travels by air. If a child lives in a place where other infected people live, he can get infected. Not vaccinating the children against whooping cough and measles could lead to pneumonia. Playing in dirty places, in dusty or smoky areas, where it is spit on the ground is a risk of getting affected.
The World Health Organization has created a health program to teach mothers how to protect their infants. They must breast feed them until the age of six months, dress them according to the weather, and teach them to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough. A healthy nutrition consisting in milk, cereals, fish, meat, egg, vegetable and fruit should be applied to them. Also, programs for grown ups were developed and applied in health centers.
Some of the symptoms that a child affected of pneumonia has, are: coughing with translucent or yellow or greenish sputum, fever, breathing not properly, fatigue, muscle aches, blueness of the skin, vomiting and runny nose.
Pneumonia can be caused by a lot of germs: viruses, bacteria, and fungi, which give different symptoms.
Among the symptoms the doctor can diagnose the pneumonia using a thoracic Rx. The doctor will also perform a test of your sputum to see which germ causes the pneumonia and to what drug does it response better.
Pneumonia caused by Legionella gives symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea. If pneumonia is caused by tuberculosis it could only give night sweats and loss of weight. In elders, a state of confusion might develop.
The treatment chosen for pneumonia differs from country to country due to the multiple drug resistance that the germs have developed in the last few years. In Great Britain, doctors use amoxicillin, while in US they use azithromycin, clarithromycin and fluoroquinolones. If the pneumonia is caused by a virus they use antiviral drugs.
The patient must be hospitalized and rest in bed for at least five days after their fever disappeared. Sometimes if the patient does not develop a severe form of illness, and it is coopering with doctors it can follow the treatment at home, using oral antibiotics or antiviral drugs.
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