Pneumonia is a lung infection that can range from mild to so severe.It happens when an infection causes the air sacs,also called alveoli in lungs to fill with fluid or pus which can make it hard for you to breathe in enough oxygen to reach you bloodstream.
Anyone can get this lung infection but infants younger than age 2 and people over age 65 are at higher risk.That’s because their immune systems might not be strong enough to fight it.
A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
Pneumonia can also be classified according to where or how it was acquired.
• Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) –
This type of bacterial pneumonia is acquired during a hospital stay. It can be more serious then other types, as the bacteria involved may be more resistant to antibiotics.
• Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) –
It refers to pneumonia that’s acquired outside of a medical or institutional setting.
• Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) –
When people who are using a ventilator get pneumonia, it’s called VAP.
• Aspiration pneumonia-
This type of pneumonia happens when you inhale bacteria into your lungs from food, drink or saliva.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, and your age and overall health.There are four stages of pneumonia,Which are consolidation, red hepatization, grey hepatization and resolution.Mild pneumonia signs and symptoms often are similar to those of a cold or flu, but they last longer.
Sign and symptoms of pneumonia may include –
• Chest pain when you breathe or cough
• Fever, sweating and shaking chills
• Cough, which may produces phelgm
• Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
• Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
• Nausea, vomitting or diarrhoea
• Shortness of breath
Newborns and infants may not show any sign of the infection.Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired without energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating.
• Bacterial Pneumonia –
The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other causes include-
▪︎ Legionella pneumophila
• Viral Pneumonia –
Respiratory viruses are often the cause of it. Some examples include –
▪︎respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
▪︎rhinoviruses (common cold)
Viral pneumonia is usually milder and can improve i’m one to three weeks without treatment.
• Fungal pneumonia –
Fungi from soil or bird droppings can cause . They most often cause pneumonia in people with weakened immune systems. Some examples include-
Risk Factors –
The following categories are at risk –
• Children who are 2 years old or younger
• People who are age 65 or older
• Being hospitalized in a hospital intensive care unit, especially on a machine like ventilator which supports breathing
• Having chronic diseases like asthma, COPD or heart disease
• Smoking damages your body’s natural defenses against the bacteria and viruses .
• Weakened or suppressed immune system due to HIV/AlDS, organ transplant, chemotherapy or long term of steroids.
• Bacteremia, in which bacteria spread into your blood. This can cause septic shock and organ failure.
• Trouble breathing, which might mean you need to use a breathing machine while your lungs heal.
• Fluid buildup between the layers of tissue that line your lungsand chest cavity. This fluid can also become infected.
• Lung abscess, when a pocket of pus forms inside or around your lung.
Your doctor will start by asking about your medical history and doing a physical exam, including listening to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal bubbling or crackling sound that suggest this .
If it is suspected, doctor may recommend the following tests-
• Blood tests
• Chest X-ray
• Pulse oximetry
• Sputum test
• Pleural fluid culture
Your treatment will depend on the type of pneumonia you have, how severe it is and your general health.
• Prescription Medications –
Oral antibiotics can treat most cases of bacterial pneumonia.
Antibiotics don’t work on viruses. In some cases, doctor may prescribe an antiviral. However , many cases of viral pneumonia clear on their own with at home care.
Antifungal medications are used to fight fungal pneumonia. You may have to take this medication for several weeks to clear the infection.
• At-home care –
The doctor may recommend over-the- counter (OTC) medication to relieve your pain, fever and cough, as needed. There may include – aspirin, ibuprofen, Acetaminophen etc.
If your symptoms are very severe or you have other health problems, you may need to be hospitalized. Hospital treatment may include – intravenous antibiotics, respiratory therapy, oxygen therapy.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Pneumonia in called Shwasnaka Jwara in Ayurveda. Fever associated with this disease is known to be Kapha pradhan. Vitiated kapha, along with ama(toxins), block various naadis (Channels) in the body. This results in the spread of agri (fire) throughout the body, pushing heat towards skin and raising body temperature. Ayurvedic treatment aim at reduction of Kapha dosha to promote healing and alleviate symptoms.
Beneficial Herbs –
Amalaki is well known for its immunity-enhancing and anti-ageing properties. It’s effective in relieving symptoms of lung inflammation associated with pneumonia.
• Kutaja –
It possesses astringent and antibacterial properties which makes it effective in the treatment of pneumonia.
• Bhringraj –
It has antipyretic, antibacterial, immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. It also improves the overall health.
• Tila –
It helps in treating pneumonia by inhibiting the action of microorganisms associated with this infection.
• Guduchi –
It is most widely used antipyretic and immunomodulatory herb
in traditional medicines.
• Vasa –
It’s known as a primary respiratory herb, relieving symptoms of cough, Kapha disorders, bronchitis, flu and asthma.
Effective Medications –
• Sanjivani Vati
• Sudarshan Churna
• Gorochanadi Vati
• Mahalaxmivilas Ras
• Ras Manikya
• Sitopladi Churna
• Abhrak Bhasm
• Giloy Sat
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