Pneumonia

Pneumonia:  is an inflammation of the alveoli and may be caused by a diplococcus known as the pneumococcus, although pneumonia can also be caused by a streptococcus, a staphylococcus or a virus as well as chlamydias.  Any or all of these pathogens may be carried by a healthy person in the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract.  If the person remains in good condition, these pathogens may be carried for an indefinite period with no ill effect.  However, if the individual's resistance to infection is lowered, the pathogens then may invade the tissues and work their damage.  Exposure to inclement weather for long periods of time, alcoholism, malnutrition, a severe injury or other debilitating or weakening conditions may cause a susceptibility to pneumonia.

There are two main kinds of pneumonia as determined by the method of lung involvement and other factors.  These are:

1.) Lobar pneumonia, in which an entire lobe of the lung is infected at one time.  The organism is usually a pneumoncoccus, although other pathogens also may cause this disease.

2.) Bronchopneumonia, in which the disease process is scattered here and there throughout the lung.  The cause may be a staphylococcus, a gram -negative proteus or colon bacillus (not normally pathogenic), or a virus.  Bronchopneumonia most often is secondary to an infection or to some agent which has lowered the individual's resistance to disease.  This is the more common form of pneumonia.

Lobar pneumonia may develop suddenly in an apparently well individual, often in a fairly young hale-appearing male.  Bronchopneumonia, on the other hand, is much more  common in the very young and the very old. 

Symptoms:

Coughing

Sputum production ( may have red streaks in the sputum due to some red blood cells may be present)

Pleuritic chest pain

Chills

Fever

Lack of oxygen 

Treatment:

Antimicrobial therapy (varies with the infecting agent)

You get a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine to protect against the most common form of pneumonia.

Oxygen therapy

May require mechanical ventilation for respiratory failure

High Calorie diet and adequate fluid intake

Bed rest

Analgesic to relieve pleuritic chest pain as doctor order

Antibiotic drugs have greatly improved the outlook for pneumonia patients.

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