The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, your
age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms often are similar to those of a cold or flu, but they last longer. It is important to get medical help even if there is some doubt.
What is Pneumonia?
Firstly we need to understand what pneumonia is and isn’t.
Pneumonia is a type of lung infection, caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi. The lungs are filled with thousands of tubes, called bronchi, which end in smaller sacs called alveoli. If a person has pneumonia, the alveoli in one or both lungs fill with pus and fluids (exudate), which hinders the exchange of gases.
Alveoli are an important part of the respiratory system whose function it is to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the bloodstream. These tiny, balloon-shaped air sacs sit at the very end of the respiratory tree and are arranged in clusters throughout the lungs.
We breathe in oxygen and after the exchange of gases in the lungs, we breathe out carbon dioxide. So oxygen is essential for growth and repair of our cells. With pneumonia where the alveoli in the lungs fill up with fluid, then the oxygen supply is depleted. This leaved the patient in a very vulnerable and at times critical health challenge.
Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia may Include:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
Who are Most Likely to get Pneumonia
Pneumonia can affect anyone. But the two age groups at highest risk are:
- Children who are 2 years old or younger
- People who are age 65 or older
- People who smoke
Other risk factors include:
- Being in Hospital – being in a hospital intensive care unit, especially if on a machine that helps you breathe (a ventilator).
- Chronic disease.Predisposing diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease. People with any of these conditions are more likely to contract pneumonia.
- Smoking damages the body’s natural defences against the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia. Smoking also reduces the ability of the immune system to fight infection.
- Weakened or suppressed immune system.People who have HIV/AIDS, who’ve had an organ transplant, or who receive chemotherapy or long-term steroids are at risk. Smoking stresses the entire body especially the immune system. This is increasingly weakened in the presence of any of the contributing factors or causes of Pneumonia.
Prevention of Pneumonia
There are a number of things you can do instead of or in addition to the pneumonia vaccine. These include:-
- Avoid smoking this may be challenging for some people. So do the research and find suitable therapies that will assist. One of the most successful is Hypnotherapy. People who use Hypnosis are often surprised when they are non smokers at the end of just one session.
- We all need water and air – drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Deep breathing is also important so try the 4 – 7 – 8 breathing.
- 4 – breath in
- 7 =Hold your breath
- 8 = Breathe out slowly
- Wash your hands often in warm, soapy water.
- If it is difficult to wash your hands or you are rushed, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- If possible, stay away from people who are ill.
- Get enough rest.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, fibre, and lean protein.
If you already have a cold and are concerned that it might turn into pneumonia, talk to your doctor.
However you may be a smoker and are looking at finding a solution to quit smoking.
Start Now on Your journey to be a non-smoker
Book your appointment today and make that commitment to be free from the smoking habit. You can also call 1300 619 684 (It will be answered with Master Your Life Power, Life Coach to Quit Smoking)
Or there may a friend or loved one who is looking to quit. If that is the case then do share this information with them.