In this X-ray, pneumonia affects nearly the entire left lung of this kid (which is on your right when looking at the image). Because there isn’t just air in there; there’s water and swollen tissue, it appears white.

I have a confession to make. I’m a pneumonia sufferer, and it wasn’t due to walking that I was in bed for a week.

The symptoms and severity of pneumonia may differ greatly. I thought I was as healthy as a horse, doing well without feeling ill. Then out of the blue, I had a teeth-chattering chill. I simply shook all over. My heart began pounding rapidly after that. Although I wasn’t coughing much, my temperature was above 102 F so I took it.

I took a couple of Tylenol and crawled into bed. My blankets soon became drenched in perspiration. After the Tylenol wore off, I had another chill. The cough started next, but I thought I had the flu. Now that my mind is not functioning correctly because someone comes to my workplace sick and is running a fever, I inquire if they have had a shivering-all-over chill. If they have, pneumonia is my first concern.

Fortunately, after a few days of resting in bed, my wife compelled me to seek help from a doctor. I’m a doctor. Despite the fact that he couldn’t hear much in my chest, an X-ray revealed the illness. I was put on antibiotics right away, but it took me a week to feel up to going out for a stroll again.

How Did I Get It?

I was recently hospitalised for pneumonia, which I picked up just before my daughter Leigh Ann’s wedding. Though I didn’t have the walking pneumonia kind, I managed to stagger down the aisle and be promptly driven home to bed, despite not having the walking pneumonia type. You know I’m not making this stuff up when I tell you that it can get bad.

Pneumonia can be classified into two distinct categories: community-acquired and hospital-acquired pneumonia. The first is more likely to occur during a disaster, especially if many people are gathered together.

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)

I think I picked it up by breathing in germs that someone else coughed into the air. It’s possible I got it at any number of locations, including my workplace.

Walking Pneumonia

The formal name for walking pneumonia is no longer recognized, although the condition is still referred to as such. Walking pneumonia may mean several things to different people. It can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including mycoplasma and its related viruses. The most common treatments include azithromycin (Z-Pak), clarithromycin (Biaxin), and tetracycline antibiotics like doxycycline (Vibramycin or Doryx).

Pneumococcal Pneumonia

Pneumococcal infection is one of the most prevalent causes of CAP, and I’m guessing this was the case for you. Erythromycin or quinolones (Cipro, Levaquin, etc.) are often used to combat these.

Others

In 1976, legionnaire’s disease was first identified among attendees at a meeting of the American Legion in Philadelphia. Legionella bacteria, which may be found in air-conditioning vents, were discovered to be the source. The pneumonia can be severe and require intensive medical treatment, but it generally responds to erythromycin.

Chronic smokers are more likely to acquire pneumonia due to the klebsiella bacteria. It is normally eradicated by ciprofloxacin.

Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of CAP. A fungus is very uncommon in causing it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Community-acquired pneumonia can often be treated as an outpatient, but it can also be serious. You may require hospitalization, and people do die from this kind of pneumonia each year.

Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP)

You’re placed into this category if you’ve been in the hospital for more than a day or two and acquire pneumonia. MRSA, other germs such as pseudomonas, and fungus are just a few of the bacteria that can induce HAP. HAP is generally treated with two or three IV antibiotics. For obvious reasons, I won’t go into this type any further since you won’t see it outside of the hospital.

Pneumonia Diagnosis If You Can’t Get to a Doctor

Shaking chills and/or sweats are normal in my situation, but any high temperature can induce that. In someone who has a fever and a cough, pneumonia is a possibility. Chest discomfort or pain is also an indicator, although it’s less typical.

If you have a stethoscope, place your ear on the person’s chest and listen for cracks in an area of one or both lungs. Rub a few strands together against your ear if your hair is long enough. That’s what rales (medical term) sound like. Rales can vary in tone.

With activity, many people with pneumonia experience breathlessness. Some people have rest breathlessness.

Pneumonia is not especially contagious, although it is possible to catch it from someone who has it. A mask would be of little use when treating someone who had pneumonia. If you do have fresh air, along with the usual disease-prevention measures such as washing your hands, this would be preferable.

Treatment

Even if you’re in the hospital, obtaining an accurate diagnosis of pneumonia is difficult. The community-acquired type of pneumonia can generally be treated with any antibiotic in the ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, or tetracycline families. Rest and fluids also aid in lowering fever levels. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) may be used to lower a fever.

I usually reserve ciprofloxacin for people who appear to be very sick, especially smokers or individuals who seem unwell. Of course, the most critical cases — those who can’t breathe properly and don’t respond to an asthma inhaler, those that can’t keep down fluids, and so on—I generally take to the hospital.

People with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, or emphysema, are all at risk for complications. Even healthy people over the age of 65 and under the age of 2 are also at risk.

Prevention

Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus bacteria is the most frequent kind of community-acquired pneumonia. Pneumonia that comes on after a bout of the flu is also quite common. You’ve heard about the flu shot before, but you may not be aware that there’s a pneumococcus vaccination available every ten years. It doesn’t prevent them all, but it can help reduce your danger considerably. It’s typically suggested for those over 65 and those at high risk for infections.

Photo by CDC/Unsplash

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