Pneumonia is more common than you think. When you have symptoms like cough, fevers, sweating and shivering, difficulty breathing, feeling generally tired and unwell, loss of appetite, you might have pneumonia. The serious lung infection claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year. Here is what you should know about this potentially deadly illness.
Anyone can get pneumonia. But infants younger than age 2 and people over age 65 have the highest odds. That's because their immune systems might not be strong enough to fight it. And if your pneumonia is caused by a bacteria or virus, you can spread it to someone else. Smoking and drinking too much can also increase your chances of getting pneumonia.
There are more than 30 different causes for pneumonia. Many germs, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause pneumonia. In some rare cases, parasites or other organisms can also cause pneumonia. Understanding the cause of pneumonia is important as it’s crucial when deciding the treatment.
Pneumonia can be very serious and fatal as it can cause bleeding in lungs. Complications of pneumonia like respiratory failure, sepsis and lung abscess are more likely to affect older adults, young children and those with a weak immune system.
Since the flu is a common cause of pneumonia, you can reduce the risk of pneumonia by getting a flu shot every year to help prevent seasonal influenza. In addition, those at high risk can also be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia.
Of course a healthy lifestyle and good personal hygiene habit can always help you from getting sick from viruses and respiratory illnesses. They also help promote fast recovery when you do get a cold, a flu or other respiratory illness.