Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia can range in severity from mild to life-threatening, and it is most serious for infants and young children, people over the age of 65, and people with health problems or weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of pneumonia
Symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the cause and the severity of the infection. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Muscle aches
Treatment for pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the cause of the infection. Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. Viral pneumonia may not require any treatment, but some people may be prescribed antiviral medications. Fungal pneumonia is treated with antifungal medications.
In addition to medication, people with pneumonia may also need to be hospitalized if they have severe symptoms or if they are at risk of complications. In the hospital, people with pneumonia may be given oxygen therapy or intravenous fluids. They may also need to be placed on a ventilator if they are having difficulty breathing.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent pneumonia, including:
- Getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia
- Washing your hands frequently
- Avoiding contact with sick people
- Smoking cessation
- Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise
If you think you may have pneumonia, it is important to see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and improve your chances of a full recovery.