There are several causes of pneumonia--irritants to the lungs, virus, fungi and bacteria. Both viral and bacterial pneumonia are contagious. Antibiotics help cure the bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia simply must run its course, much like a cold or flu. Both forms of pneumonia affect the respiratory system and are sometimes lethal in older people, infirmed patients and small children. There are different symptoms for each type of pneumonia, but some of them overlap.
You catch pneumonia from inhaling airborne-infected droplets expelled through a cough or sneeze by an infected individual. Pneumonia also may occur if an infection spreads from a different area of the body. The biggest consideration on whether you'll develop pneumonia is your state of health and ability to fight infections. Occasionally, an improperly cleaned air conditioner or its filter causes the spread of pneumonia. One danger of pneumonia is the potential for infections to other parts of the body.
Bacterial pneumonia normally comes from the streptococcus pneumonia, the most common bacteria to cause pneumonia. There are more than 90 strains of this form of pneumonia, so you can get it more than once. The vaccine for bacterial pneumonia contains 23 of the 90 types. Some symptoms of bacterial pneumonia are drowsiness often caused by a high fever, which may spike up to 105 degrees, chills, cough with greenish or bloody mucous, chest pain, rapid breathing and, in very severe cases, blue-tinted lips and finger nails.
Viral pneumonia has progressive symptoms. It starts with flu-like symptoms that include a nonproductive dry cough, fever, headache, muscle pain, sore throat and loss of appetite. Later, the symptoms change to a cough with mucous, shortness of breath and a high fever. If the disease is severe, breathing is extremely difficult and the lips and nails have a bluish tint to them.
Fungal pneumonia most frequently occurs in patients with compromised immune systems. Several different fungi cause the condition and sometimes more than one creates the infection of the lung. Symptoms of fungal pneumonia from the Candida species include general malaise. Aspergillosis fungi may cause symptoms similar to asthma or allergies, show no symptoms but create masses in the shape of a ball in the lungs, or produce a fever, pain and a cough similar to a mild case of pneumonia. It also can cause death to lung tissues and impair the respiratory system. Cryptococcus causes chronic pneumonia and is life-threatening for those with immune system problems because it has the potential for the fungi to spread to the brain. Mucormycosis normally doesn't affect most people. It is part of the decaying process of vegetation and found in the soil everywhere. If you have diabetes, metabolic acidosis, leukemia, lymphoma, AIDS or chronically use steroids, you may be susceptible to the fungi. The mucormycosis fungi cause pneumonia as the fungi attack and kill the lung cells.
Pneumonia can result from other things besides a parasitic invasion. Chemical pneumonia comes from inhaling chemicals that burn the lining of the lungs or vomit aspirated into the lungs. Your eyes, nose, lips, mouth and throat could burn and a productive or nonproductive cough might occur. The sputum will appear yellow, green or even frothy and pink, depending on the type of chemical. You might experience nausea, abdominal or chest pain, shortness of breath or painful breathing, a headache, flu-like symptoms, disorientation, weakness, and, in severe cases, bluing of the lips and nails. Unconsciousness, disorientation, a swollen tongue and hoarseness are also symptoms of a severe case of chemical.
Although no one can guarantee that you won't develop pneumonia, following recommended diet, exercise and sleep regimes reduces your chances by keeping your body stronger. Washing your hands frequently, particularly if you've had contact with someone with symptoms of pneumonia, reduces your chances of getting the disease. People with frequent direct contact with the public often use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
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