Causative Agent of Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a kind of serious infection of lungs which is caused by various types of bacteria, viruses and even fungi. It can be mild and sometimes even fatal. It affects people having weakened immune systems, amongst older people that are above 65 years of age, infants and younger children. Pneumonia can either be bacterial, viral or even mycoplasma. It is a serious health issue that requires a proper treatment. Pneumonia is a common disease which can have more than 30 types of causes and symptoms. It is a contagious lung infection which is characterised by the inflammation of air sacs in either one or both the lungs. The air sacs tend to get filled with fluid or pus which results in fever, cough, chills and breathing difficulty. In this article, we will study types of pneumonia, the causative agent of pneumonia, pneumonia symptoms treatment and prevention, and take a look at the pneumonia short note.
How is Pneumonia Caused
Let us now learn about the pneumonia causes and symptoms.
Bacteria, viruses, or even fungi can lead to pneumonia. The common causes include the following:
- Cold viruses
- Flu viruses
- RSV virus which is the top cause of pneumonia in babies that are of age 1 or even younger
- Bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae and the other Mycoplasma pneumoniae
Types of Pneumonia
Let us learn about the pneumonia types and causes.
- Bacterial Pneumonia
The most common bacteria which leads to pneumonia is the Streptococcus pneumoniae. It occurs amongst people having an existing lung disorder, and those who drink excessively due to which they develop a weakened immune system. It also affects older people whose immunity keeps weakening with increasing age.
- Viral Pneumonia
It is caused due to various viruses like the influenza virus. More than 1/3 rd of the total pneumonia cases are caused due to viruses.
- Mycoplasma Pneumonia
This is called atypical pneumonia and shows different kinds of symptoms. It is caused due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae which causes mild pneumonia which affects all age groups.
- Other Pneumonia
These are quite less common and can be caused by several other infectious agents like fungi.
Pneumonia Symptoms Causes and Prevention
Let us look at the pneumonia causes and symptoms.
The initial symptoms of pneumonia usually resemble the ones of a cold or flu. The person then starts to develop a high fever, chills, and cough along with sputum.
The Common Symptoms Include the Following:
- rusty or green coloured phlegm, or sputum, which is coughed up from lungs
- faster breathing and shortness of breath
- shaking chills
- fatigue and weakness
- chest pain which usually worsens during taking a deep breath called pleuritic pain
- fast heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle pain
- confusion or delirium found especially in older adults
- dusky or purplish coloured skin, or cyanosis, due to poorly oxygenated blood
The symptoms tend to vary depending on the several other underlying conditions and the kind of pneumonia.
If your doctor thinks that you might have pneumonia, they would probably give you the following tests:
- Blood tests to look for any signs of bacterial infection
- A chest X-ray for finding the infection in the lungs and how far it has spread
- Pulse oximetry for measuring the levels of oxygen in your blood
- A sputum test for checking the fluid in your lungs for finding the cause of an infection
In case your symptoms started in the hospital or if you have any other health problems, your doctor might also give you more tests, like:
- An arterial blood gas test for measuring the oxygen in a small amount of the blood which is taken from one of your arteries
- Bronchoscopy for checking your airways for any blockages or any other problems
- A CT scan to get a clear and detailed image of your lungs
- A pleural fluid culture, wherein the doctor removes a small portion of the fluid from the tissues that are around your lungs for looking for bacteria which might cause pneumonia
The treatment varies according to the type and severity of pneumonia.
- Bacterial types of pneumonia are generally treated with antibiotics.
- Viral types of pneumonia are generally treated with rest and having plenty of fluids. Antiviral medications are used in influenza.
- Fungal type of pneumonia is generally treated with antifungal medications.
- Doctors generally prescribe over-the-counter or OTC medications for helping to manage the symptoms of pneumonia. These include several treatments to reduce fever, reduce aches and pains, and suppress coughs.
Hospitalization for pneumonia might be required if the symptoms are especially bad or if the individual has a weakened immune system or any other kinds of serious illnesses.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Pneumonia is an Example of Which Disease?
Pneumonia is caused due to the infections by bacteria or viruses and is less commonly caused by fungi and parasites. Streptococcus pneumoniae is amongst the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia. Adenoviruses, influenza virus (flu), rhinovirus, parainfluenza virus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are all amongst the potential causes of viral pneumonia. Histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, aspergillosis, coccidioidomycosis, and cryptococcosis are the fungal infections which can lead to fungal pneumonia.
- Is Pneumonia a Communicable Disease?
Pneumonia is a communicable or contagious disease only when the causative pathogens that are usually bacteria or viruses are expelled by the infected person when they are coughing out the infected droplets. These expelled droplets consist of the bacteria or virus which causes pneumonia. These tend to droplets contaminate the mouth or even the breathing tract of another individual and eventually infect their lungs.