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The Warning Signs of Pneumonia
Written By : M. Lieberman 
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Pneumonia is an inflammation and subsequent infection of the lungs. It can cause difficulty with breathing, produce a cough and cause chest pain. Pneumonia can affect either one or both of your lungs and various forms exist of the disease. It is known that the most common cause of pneumonia is a pulmonary infection associated with viruses or gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria. Some infectious agents that share both the similarities of viruses and bacteria can also cause pneumonia.

Aspiration pneumonia is caused by the inhalation of foreign materials: liquids, dust particles, chemical fumes and other irritants. This type of pneumonia mostly common affects small children, but adults are not immune to it, because they have inhaled either vomit or food. The symptoms of Aspiration pneumonia are not always intense and may disappear within a few days, but in rare cases the aspiration of either food or vomit can result in respiratory arrest and death. The main symptoms of Aspiration pneumonia include: a dry cough, chest pain and soreness, wheezing during normal breathing, and difficulty in breathing. It is advisable to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Viral pneumonia is very common form of pneumonia affecting children, teenagers and the elderly. It can sometimes be mistaken for either the flu or a cold. Viral pneumonia presents the following symptoms: inflammation of the throat, productive or non-productive cough, a swelling in the lymph nodes, chest discomfort during breathing, mild to severe headache and a generalized feeling of fatigue. The cough may or may not produce varying amounts of mucus. You may also experience a mild fever and chills.

Bacterial pneumonia is a more severe form and can produce symptoms that are more intense. The bacterial forms of pneumonia seem to be more common in adults and those who have a weak immune system. Bacterial pneumonia can cause symptoms such as: a high fever, sweating excessively, a productive (mucus-producing) cough, SOB (shortness of breath), chest discomfort and pain (a feeling of soreness when breathing), nausea with abdominal pain, muscular pain and a pronounced body weakness. A critical symptom of Bacterial pneumonia is cyanosis, which is a bluish coloring on the lips and fingernail beds, because of inadequate blood oxygenation. Also the person may cough up a greenish to brown-colored mucus. There may also be traces of blood in more advanced stages.

Walking pneumonia or Mycoplasma pneumonia can be hit anyone, as your health condition and age do not matter. This type of pneumonia is generally mild. It can produce symptoms of: a cough with mucus, some chest pain from excessive coughing, difficulty with your breathing, mild headache and fatigue. You may also experience a slight fever, the chills, nausea, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. Walking Pneumonia tends to develop slowly and you may not experience any of the symptoms until several weeks after becoming infected. Although this type of pneumonia is not really considered to be serious, it is strongly advised that you see your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Since Pneumonia is a very contagious illness and the infectious agents that cause the disease are transmitted through the air we all breathe, it is very easy to become infected simply through breathing. Given the fact that the respiratory system has its own natural defenses of nasal hairs, mucus and the cilia), some of the microorganisms are still able to penetrate into the lungs and cause both the inflammation and infection. Once the microorganisms are able to break through our natural body defenses, the fumes, irritants, viruses and bacteria are able to quickly spread inside the alveoli (tiny clusters of air sacs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide take place) and this can cause serious damage to the lungs, if untreated.

Pneumonia can strike anyone, since age is not a factor. It is a fact that elderly people and very young children are the most likely targets to developing pneumonia. You may also be very susceptible to developing pneumonia if you have a weak immune systems, suffer from chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases (COPD), other internal dysfunctions (liver, kidney problems), have had chemotherapy or have gone through a recent surgical procedures.

Walking pneumonia used to be responsible for the deaths of thousands before antibiotics were discovered and the availability of the pneumonia vaccination. Most people who have walking pneumonia will confuse the symptoms with the flu (influenza) and if the wrong treatment is used, it can progress further.

Pneumonia can spread rapidly in schools, army barracks or any place where there are large numbers of people where they are relatively close together and the microorganisms can easily be transmitted through a simple cough or sneeze from an infected person. The first symptom can be a mild sore throat that worsens each day. Then a dry cough is noticed. You may experience a general state of fatigue all the time.

The real problem to be concerned with is that the initial symptoms of pneumonia can be the same as a cold or the flu. After developing the cough, a mild fever may also appear, followed by a runny nose, exactly as when you have a cold. The first major clue that indicates you do not have a simple cold is that the frequent or excessive coughing is not cured with the normal medications. This is because the bacteria that actually cause pneumonia respond only to antibiotics and can only be treated with antibiotics. Even though you may have taken cough medicine, it continues to get worse until you begin treatment with antibiotics.

Try and remember the symptoms and facts about pneumonia as it can save you a lot of time and trouble from confusing the signs of pneumonia with the flu, but if you do have the symptoms of pneumonia, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible and avoid the illness from becoming more serious. It is really no fun to cough so hard that it makes your chest hurt, or cough up nasty looking mucus or to have trouble breathing. Pneumonia is treatable with the correct medications.

 
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