Many people mistakenly believe that pneumonia is always accompanied by fever, lung pain, and severe cough.
However, this disease can be asymptomatic and in order to avoid complications, it is important to recognize it on time.
Symptoms of Pneumonia
This disease cannot be called completely asymptomatic. Instead of coughing and fever, patients experience low mood, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
These symptoms can easily be mistaken for normal fatigue.
Common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- excessive sweating;
- cough that can produce mucus;
- constant thirst and lack of appetite;
- chest pain, which may get worse when coughing or breathing deeply;
- shortness of breath or rapid breathing;
- pain under the lower ribs;
- nausea or vomiting;
- a common headache.
One of the alarming (but not always occurring) signals for pneumonia may be dry cough, which does not last for a long time.
Complications and Risk Factors
Pneumonia can sometimes cause serious complications and become life-threatening. Potential complications may include:
- difficulty breathing or even respiratory failure, which may require being placed on a ventilator to produce oxygen
- exacerbation of chronic pulmonary conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- fluid buildup in the lungs that can become infected and may need to be drained
lung abscess, which represents the formation of pus in the lungs
bacteremia, when bacteria spread into the bloodstream, which can lead to septic shock
People who may be at risk for more serious symptoms or complications include:
- children under 2 years
- adults over 65 years
- persons with weakened immune systems
- those with underlying conditions, such as COPD, asthma and heart disease
Types of pneumonia
- Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)
- Healthcare-acquired pneumonia
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Walking pneumonia
What causes pneumonia?
Pneumonia can also be classified by the type of germs that cause it. These can include things like bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Bacterial pneumonia can be divided into typical and atypical types. Common bacteria are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza.
Atypical bacteria may include:
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae
- Legionella pneumophila
- Chlamidia pneumoniae
Many types of bacterial pneumonia include symptoms such as fever, sweating, and rapid breathing.
People with atypical (walking) pneumonia may have milder symptoms, such as low fever, headache, and dry cough.
Different types of viruses can cause viral pneumonia, including:
- influenza virus
- respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Many cases of viral pneumonia are milder than in bacterial pneumonia. Symptoms can include fever, cough, aches, and pains.
Pneumonia caused by fungal infection is more common in people with weakened immune systems. However, people with a healthy immune system can also get it.
The fungi that can cause these infections are often found in the soil or in bird droppings and can be caused by organisms such as:
- Pneumocystis jirovecii
- Histoplasma species
- Coccidioides species
In some cases, the symptoms of fungal pneumonia can take a week or more. These can include fever, cough, and chest pain.
Can you prevent pneumonia?
Pneumonia is caused by several types of germs, many of which are contagious. This means they can spread from person to person, potentially causing pneumonia.
You can inhale these organisms through the droplets of air that occur when someone with germs coughs or sneezes. You can also get infected by touching contaminated objects and then touching your face or mouth.
Fungal pneumonia is usually not contagious. Instead, it is obtained by inhaling the spores present in the environment. However, an infection due to P. jirovecii was observed to spread between individuals.
To reduce the risk of pneumonia, follow the steps below.
Practice good hygiene.
Get vaccinated. – Some causes of pneumonia have vaccines available.
Keep your immune system healthy