Bacterial Pneumonia is a disease of the lungs. In most cases, your immune system will protect your lungs from becoming infected; however, when bacteria invade and reproduce in your lungs, the resulting illness is Bacterial Pneumonia. People who suffer with this inflammatory disease often complain about difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever, and coughing.
Lungs are made of many tiny alveoli, or air sacs, which aid in respiratory function. When Pneumonia strikes, these alveoli fill with fluid and make it difficult to breathe properly. The lungs become less elastic and the processes of adding oxygen and removing carbon dioxide become seriously impaired. This is the main reason why Pneumonia is such a serious disease with such major medical complications.
One medical condition that mirrors the symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia is Acute Bronchitis. Both of these diseases produce fever, shortness of breath, and coughing. Bronchitis, however, is caused by inflamed airways and not the alveoli of the lungs.
What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia?
Streptococcus is the main cause of Bacterial Pneumonia. Some other causes include Chlamydia Trachomatis, Mycoplasma, Legionella Pneumophila, and Haemophilus Influenza.
The main culprit of pneumonia is from airborne droplets from a cough or a sneeze from an infected individual. Other means of spreading the disease is through dirty air conditioner vents and infections in other parts of the body. Some forms of transmission can greatly increase the risk of actually getting the disease. Contrary to folk lore, you cannot catch pneumonia by being out in the rain or cold weather!
Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacterial Pneumonia, or Typical Pneumonia, can be diagnosed based on the symptoms you are exhibiting. The onset of these symptoms is usually very sudden and the patient usually feels very ill. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- High fever
- Shaking and chills
- Yellow or brown sputum
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing and coughing
- Shortness of breath
Treatment for Bacterial Pneumonia
Some people cannot tell the difference between pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinusitis. This could result in not going to the doctor or the hospital when it is necessary. If you are coughing up any yellow, green, or brown substances you should call your doctor just to be safe. When this is accompanied by chest pain, confusion, or fever; a trip to the doctor or emergency room is absolutely necessary.
Some individuals are at risk for major complications if they catch Bacterial Pneumonia. If you meet any of the following criteria, please don’t delay when making an appointment with your health care provider.
- Chronic health problems, including Diabetes
- Compromised immune system
- Damaged lungs
- Asthma or Emphysema
- Very young or very old age
Bacterial Pneumonia is most often treated with antibiotics. Your personal history will determine which medication you are given by your doctor. Plenty of rest and fluids are also, mandatory parts of your treatment. Tylenol and Advil may be helpful in reducing fever and curbing aches and pains. Coughing may be painful but is a necessary step in cleaning out your fluid-filled lungs so taking a cough suppressant will not be a part of your treatment. As long as you are getting enough oxygen and fluids, you may stay home. However, if you are compromised, you may be admitted to a hospital for oxygen and IV therapy.
After a month or so, your doctor will likely take another chest x-ray to be sure your infection has cleared up. Pneumonia is a serious illness and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of death from infection. Of the people who do not recover with antibiotics, they may die from sepsis, meningitis, and lung failure.
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