Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs which is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other microorganisms. It can be a debilitating disease and should be promptly treated, especially in children and the elderly. Any sign and symptom of pneumonia should warrant an immediate visit to the doctor.Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia:
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary, depending on the age of the person and the cause of the pneumonia. However most people who develop pneumonia initially have symptoms of a cold which are then followed by a high fever (sometimes as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit), shaking chills, difficulty in breathing ,a cough with sputum production and chest pain this pain is usually sharp and worsens when taking a deep breathe, known as pleuritic pain.
When pneumonia is caused by bacteria the person becomes sick relatively quickly and have high fever with shortness of breathe. Some types of pneumonia cause symptoms that give important clue about which germ is causing the illness.
Children and infants who develop pneumonia often do not have any specific signs of chest infection, but develop a fever and can become lethargic. In infant’s pneumonia due to Chlamydia may cause conjunctivitis (pink eye) with only mild illness and no fever. When pneumonia is caused due to whooping cough (pertusis), the child may have long coughing spells, turn blue from lack of air, or make a classic whooping sounds when trying to take a breathe. Whereas in other cases, infants are simply sleepy and have decreased appetite.
In elderly people manifestations of pneumonia may not be typical. They may develop a new worsening confusion or may experience unsteadiness, lading to falls.
In other cases of pneumonia, there can be slow onset of symptoms. A worsening cough, headaches and muscles aches may be the only symptoms. In some people with pneumonia, coughing is not a major symptom because the infection is located in the areas of the lung away from the larger airways. Sometimes individual skin color may change and may become dusky or purplish due to poor supply of oxygen to the blood. When complications in pneumonia developed they show entirely different signs and symptoms such as Bacteremia (this complication occurs when infection moves into blood stream), lung abscesses, and pleural effusion.
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