Pneumonia is a lung disease characterised by inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs. The infection causes the tiny air sacs inside the lungs to get filled with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia can affect people of any age but infants under 2-years of age and adults over 60 years of age are more prone to this infection. Streptococcus pneumoniae, a Gram-positive bacterium, is the most common cause of pneumonia.
WHAT CAUSES PNEUMONIA?
Pneumonia is a serious and life-threatening disease. Bacteria are the main causes of pneumonia as these germs can settle in alveoli and multiply in number. Streptococcus pneumoniae, a type of bacteria, is the most common cause of pneumonia. Viral pneumonia is milder in nature – flu is the main common cause but you can also get viral pneumonia from influenza, common cold, and respiratory syncytial virus. Fungal pneumonia affects people with a weaker immune system and can be caused by fungi from soil and bird droppings.
SYMPTOMS OF PNEUMONIA
Pneumonia being an inflammatory disorder exhibits a variety of symptoms. Some of them have been enlisted below:
- Difficulty breathing
- High fever and bluish lips and nails
- Fast breathing
- Fever, fatigue, vomiting
- Chest pain while breathing and coughing
- Loss of appetite and constipation
TYPES OF PNEUMONIA
Pneumonia can be categorised into various types based on how and where it was acquired:
- HOSPITAL-ACQUIRED PNEUMONIA: This pneumonia is more serious than other types and is acquired during a stay in the hospital.
- COMMUNITY-ACQUIRED PNEUMONIA: This type of pneumonia occurs outside the hospital and is acquired in a public space.
- VENTILATOR-ASSOCIATED PNEUMONIA: It is when individuals who use ventilator develop pneumonia.
- ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA: This happens when one inhales bacteria into the lungs from food, drink, or saliva.
Treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing complications. People who have community-acquired pneumonia usually can be treated at home with medication. Although most symptoms ease in a few days or weeks, the feeling of tiredness can persist for a month or more. Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of your pneumonia, your age and your overall health. The options include:
ANTIBIOTICS: These medicines are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. It may take time to identify the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia and to choose the best antibiotic to treat it. If your symptoms don’t improve, your doctor may recommend a different antibiotic.
COUGH MEDICINE: This medicine may be used to calm your cough so that you can rest. Because coughing helps loosen and move fluid from your lungs, it’s a good idea not to eliminate your cough completely. In addition, you should know that very few studies have looked at whether over-the-counter cough medicines lessen coughing caused by pneumonia. If you want to try a cough suppressant, use the lowest dose that helps you rest.
FEVER REDUCERS/PAIN RELIEVERS: You may take these as needed for fever and discomfort.
HOSPITALIZATION: You may need to be hospitalized for more examinations or based on other factors.
HOME REMEDIES FOR PNEUMONIA
Pneumonia cannot be treated with home remedies alone and require intensive medical attention and treatment, like we discussed above. However, there are some things that can be used to manage or ease its symptoms. One must continue his/her doctor’s advice along with the home remedies.
- Garlic: Garlic can be used to improve the symptoms of pneumonia. Allicin present in it helps in fighting infection. Garlic can be crushed and applied on the chest or it may be chewed directly once daily.
- Turmeric: Turmeric eases the breathing process and helps to expel mucus from the bronchial ducts. One tablespoon of turmeric in a glass of hot milk may be consumed daily.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can help combat pneumonia-causing viruses. Add apple cider vinegar to warm water and add half tablespoon of honey and consume the mixture daily.
- Honey: Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and helps in curing cough. Add one tablespoon of honey to water and consume it daily till the symptoms subside.
- Camphor: The decongestant properties of camphor oil can help in treating pneumonia. Add almost three tablespoon of camphor oil to any carrier oil and rub it gently on the chest before going to bed.
- Apples: Apples are a rich source of vitamin C that can help in the treatment of pneumonia. It can also reduce lung inflammation. Eat apple directly or blend the apple and drink it as a juice on a daily basis.
- Citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, etc, can be eaten daily to help fight against pneumonia. Consuming citrus fruits like orange, kiwis, berries helps in boosting the immune system.
- Vegetable juices: Juice extracted from spinach, carrots, beetroots may help in combating the pneumonia-causing virus. Drinking these vegetable juices once daily may help in combating pneumonia.