An Overview of Pneumonia: Its Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Prevention

An Overview of Pneumonia: Its Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Prevention

Aug 06, 2021

Pneumonia infection is mostly caused by the bacterium Streptococcus Pneumoniae, which leads to the inflammation of the air sacs/alveoli, which then get filled with pus or fluid, making breathing difficult.

Pneumonia is a contagious disease meaning it can easily spread from a sick patient to a healthy human. Both bacterial and viral pneumonia will spread via the inhalation of airborne germs found in the droplets produced when the patient coughs or sneezes. One can also get pneumonia if he/she comes into direct contact with objects or surfaces contaminated with the pneumonia-causing viruses or bacteria.

Pneumonia Symptoms

Symptoms of pneumonia may include the following, but you may not get all the symptoms below before becoming sick –

  • Chills
  • Productive cough with greenish-yellow or bloody mucus
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Sharp chest pain that is felt when you take deep breaths or cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fast heartbeat accompanied with shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Fingernails and lips turning blue

Express ER, an emergency room in 76504, Temple, offers pneumonia diagnostic services and treatment. Visit our emergency room in Temple if your child exhibits any of the symptoms below.

Pneumonia Warning Signs in Children

Pneumonia in kids can either be mild, moderate, or severe, and how fast the symptoms become serious will be influenced by the severity of the disease. Below are the symptoms parents should look out for in their children if they suspect the child may have a lung infection:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Paleness
  • Diarrhea and loss of appetite
  • Fever & nasal congestion
  • Wheezing and breathing difficulties
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Being lethargic or limp
  • Flushed skin
  • Sweating and chills
  • Lack energy

The Risk Factors and Prevention

Any person can get infected with pneumonia, but some people have a high risk for infection. They include:

  • Persons above 65 years of age
  • Infants and kids below two years
  • Immunocompromised persons
  • Smokers or people who take alcohol excessively
  • Certain medical conditions like diabetes, heart failure, asthma, and cystic fibrosis

In most cases, pneumonia is preventable by vaccination, a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.

Pneumonia Complications

It is always important to seek pneumonia emergency treatment at a pneumonia ER or urgent care because failure to get prompt treatment can lead to various health complications such as:

  1. Pleural effusions – This occurs when there is a build-up of fluid between tissues lining the lungs and chest cavity. It is normally associated with chest pain, fever, coughing, and hiccups.
  2. Bacteremia & septic shock – Bacteremia is the spread of bacteria into the bloodstream from initial infection and can cause septic shock. Septic shock occurs when body organs have an insufficient supply of both blood and oxygen due to hypotension (low blood pressure).
  3. Respiratory failure – Respiratory failure refers to a condition where the lungs fail to provide sufficient oxygen, leading to organ failure because of hypoxia (lack of oxygen in tissues).
  4. Lung abscesses – An abscess refers to pus collection within body tissues. Lung abscess can lead to fever, painful coughing, and weight loss.

Urgent Care vs Emergency Room for Pneumonia Treatment

Making major decisions like where to go for medical care in sudden and scary medical situations can be challenging and confusing. You may not know whether to go to an emergency room near you or urgent care center or call emergency medical services. Here are guidelines that will guide you to know when to go to urgent care near you and when to visit the ER near you but first, you need to know that:

Urgent care mostly deals with minor medical issues

The contrast between emergency care and urgent care comes down to what is and isn’t considered a medical emergency. Urgent care focuses mainly on health conditions that require urgent care in less or within 24 hours and are not life-threatening emergencies. Urgent care medical centers are equipped with lab testing, x-ray machines and have equipment for various minor procedures.

If you have flu- or cold-like symptoms or headache, rashes, chest congestion, or stuffy nose and have failed to respond to treatment, and you suspect it may be a respiratory infection like pneumonia, visiting an urgent care center can be helpful.

Signs to Visit an Emergency Room

  • Having breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain that is more on the left side
  • Sudden paralysis, confusion, and trouble speaking
  • Nausea, stomach swelling, lethargy, high fever, and severe abdominal pain

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