Pneumonia is an infection in the lung(s) that is generally caused by viruses, bacteria, or sometimes fungi. Before the advent of antibiotics,the death rate of those who had pneumonia was one in three. Recent figures for the United States suggest that the number of people who develop this condition annually, exceeds three million. Of this number, over half a million had to be hospitalized during treatment. Despite that, most of these persons recuperate from the infection,and around five percent die of pneumonia. In the United States Pneumonia ranks as number six among the leading causes of death. Pneumonia may be caused by inhaling small droplets that have the organisms that give pneumonia. The harmful droplets get into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Alternatively, pneumonia may be caused when viruses or bacteria usually present in the mouth, nose or throat unintentionally go into the lung. People who have current viral infections, heart or lung disease, drug users or alcoholics, those who have swallowing problems, had a recent stroke or seizure are more likely to develop pneumonia than the rest of the population.
Identifying the Symptoms
People in the early stage of pneumonia will have symptoms of colds that includes sneezing and coughing or sore throat, this is an upper respiratory infection. This is then accompanied by a high fever which may be as high as 104 F. Other symptoms of pneumonia include shaking chills. There may also be a cough that produces sputum. The sputum may be bloody or is usually discolored. Based on where the infection is positioned particular symptoms may actually emerge. If the infection is located in the air passage then cough and sputum will be the leading symptoms. In some cases the spongy tissue of the lungs that holds the air sacs has greater inclusion. As a result oxygenation could be affected in addition to the lungs stiffening and this causes shortness of breath. Other symptoms of Pneumonia may be a state known as cyanosis where a person’s skin color could change and begin to appear purple-looking or dusky. This is as a result of the blood being inadequately oxygenated.
There are no other pain fibers on the lungs apart from those located on the surface of the lung in a location known as the pleura. Chest pain may occur if the outside areas near to the pleura are involved. The pain would generally be sharp and gets worst when deep breaths are taken. This is known as pleurisy or Pleuritic pain. Depending on the organism which caused the pneumonia some cases may witness a slow development of symptoms. Headaches, muscle aches or the cough becoming worst could be the only symptoms of pneumonia. These are the general signs in adults. For children on the other hand, there may be no particular signs of chest pain. Children and babies may show an extreme lack of energy, seem very ill or develop a high fever. The same apply to elderly people who may show less symptoms of pneumonia.