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What is pneumonia?
What causes pneumonia?
How serious is pneumonia?
Who is at risk for getting pneumonia?
What are the symptoms of pneumonia?
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
How can I prevent pneumonia?
Who should get the pneumonia vaccine?
Where can I buy home test kits for contributing factors of this
What is Pneumonia? (top)
Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs
caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can infect the
upper respiratory tracts of adults and children and can spread to the
blood, lungs, middle ear, or nervous system.
What causes pneumonia?
Bacteria are the most common causes of
pneumonia, but these infections can also be caused by a variety of
viruses or fungi.
How serious is pneumonia? (top)
About 1.2 million people are hospitalized
each year for pneumonia; that's third after births and heart disease.
Although many of pneumonias respond well to treatment, the infection can
still be a very serious problem.
Who is at risk for getting pneumonia? (top)
Groups considered high risk for pneumonia
Some of the risk factors for pneumonia
Dormitory or Barrack Conditions: Recruits
on military bases and college students are at higher than average risk
for Mycoplasma pneumonia , which is usually mild. These groups are at
lower risk, however, for more serious types of pneumonia.
Smoke and Environmental Pollutants. The
risk for pneumonia in smokers of more than a pack a day is three times
that of nonsmokers. Those who are chronically exposed to cigarette
smoke, which can injure airways and damage the cilia, are also at risk.
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of dying from pneumonia to normal, but
the full benefit takes ten years to be realized. Toxic fumes, industrial
smoke, and other air pollutants may also damage cilia function.
Drugs and Alcohol. Alcohol or drug abuse
is strongly associated with pneumonia. These substances act as sedatives
and can diminish the reflexes that trigger coughing and sneezing.
Alcohol also interferes with the actions of the white blood cells that
destroy bacteria and other microbes. Intravenous drug abusers are at
risk for pneumonia from infections that originate at the injection site
and spread through the blood stream.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia? (top)
The symptoms of pneumonia develop
abruptly and may include
Symptoms of pneumonia indicating a
medical emergency include
Severe abdominal pain may accompany
pneumonia occurring in the lower lobes of the lung.
In advanced cases, skin may become bluish
(cyanotic), breathing may become labored and heavy, and the patient may
Symptoms in the Elderly; It is important
to note that older people may have fewer or different symptoms than
younger people have. An elderly person who experiences even a minor
cough and weakness for more than a day should seek medical help. Some
may exhibit confusion, lethargy, and general deterioration.
How is pneumonia diagnosed? (top)
In many cases of mild-to-moderate
community-acquired pneumonia, the physician is able to diagnose and
treat pneumonia based solely on a history and physical examination.
Often, however, a diagnosis is not straightforward, particularly in
How can I prevent pneumonia? (top)
There is a vaccine to protect adults
against pneumococcal disease. The vaccine is safe and effective. A
single dose of the pneumonia vaccine protects against the 23 different
types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that are responsible for
causing greater than 90% of all pneumonia disease cases.
Who should get the
pneumonia vaccine? (top)
People who are 65 years of age or older
People two years of age or older who have
a chronic illness such as cardiovascular or pulmonary (lung) diseases,
sickle cell disease, chronic liver diseases, diabetes, alcoholism, or
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks.
People with a weakened immune system due
to illnesses such as HIV infection, AIDS, chronic renal failure, organ
transplantation, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and
those who have had their spleen removed or whose spleen is dysfunctional
due to an illness such as sickle cell disease.
People in nursing homes or other
long-term care facilities and certain Native American or Alaska Native
Click here to buy home test kits for
contributing factors of this condition