Symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia in adults are known to give great discomfort to the individual suffering from it. Pneumonia is a condition wherein the lungs are inflamed due to the invasion of bad bacteria or viruses in some parts of the lungs. Because of this, the lungs would fail to do its primary function: provide oxygen for the different parts of the body so that they could also do their respective roles.
This is what happens when an individual has pneumonia. First, the bacteria or viruses enter the lungs, causing inflammation in the lungs. As a result, fluids will gather near the airs sacs (alveoli) of the lungs and would greatly interfere with the function of the lungs to move oxygen to the different parts of our body. The body would feel weak due to the reduced supply of needed oxygen. And when this happens, the person would now experience the painful and inconvenient symptoms of pneumonia in adults.
Types and Causes of Pneumonia
o Infective Pneumonia is caused by bacteria or virus. For bacterial pneumonia, the most common culprits are Streptococcus Pneumoniae and Pneumococcus. The most common cause of infective pneumonia however is due to viral infection. It is somewhat easier if the infective pneumonia is caused by virus because the body has natural antibodies to fight off viruses that invade the system. Bacterial pneumonia, on the other hand, is more dangerous as it can affect not only the lungs but could also invade the bloodstream and deliver the bacteria into the brain and other parts of the body. This would be more difficult to treat and could even be fatal.
o Aspiration pneumonia is results when an individual inhales toxic fumes, foul vomit and other strong chemicals. Examples of these chemicals include gasoline, kerosene, petroleum solvents, lighter fluid, dry cleaning fluid and waxes. These inhalants cause irritation to the lungs, causing them to become inflamed.
Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults
Pneumonia was once a fatal disease but due to the advancements in technology and painstaking research, a cure had been discovered a few years back. However, it is still important to detect pneumonia at an early stage, because even if it is now curable, if it is not given attention right away, it would still pose a great threat to one’s health. If not addressed promptly, pneumonia could eventually lead to death.
Mild symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults
o Mild symptoms usually imply that the case of pneumonia is due to viral infection. This type of pneumonia is easily cured within a few days if given medical attention right away. Below are the early and mild symptoms of pneumonia in adults:
Sore throat due to infection
Swelling of the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are located in some areas of the head, neck, underarms, groin, chest and abdomen.
Pain in the chest, especially when breathing.
Dry cough and difficulty in breathing
Weakness or tiring easily
Severe Symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults
o Severe symptoms are experienced if the viral pneumonia is left untreated or if the cause of the pneumonia is bacteria. This type of pneumonia in adults needs special and immediate medical attention, as it is important to stick to the treatment regimen religiously and monitor the patient constantly. Below are the severe symptoms of pneumonia in adults:
High fever that doesn’t go away (Temperature is above 104oF or 40oC)
Rapid pulse rate that reaches 125 beats per minute even at rest
Rapid breathing rate that reaches 30 breaths per minute even at rest
Sudden decrease in blood pressure that causes dizziness and fainting
Excessive sweating and chills
Green colored mucus upon coughing
Shortness of breath
Severe pain on the chest area
Bluish color of the skin
Pain on the abdomen
Nausea and vomiting
Weakness and pain in the muscles
Fatigue and weakness of the body
Blood in cough if the pneumonia is already advanced
Treatment for Pneumonia in Adults
If an individual suffers the aforementioned symptoms of pneumonia in adults, the first thing to do is to see a doctor. The doctor would then assess the stage and the cause of pneumonia. From there he would take steps in finding the best treatment for the disease. If the pneumonia is severe, the doctor would advice hospitalization so that he could closely monitor the patient’s condition, such as the heart rate, breathing and reaction to treatment. Along with these, the doctor would also prescribe intravenous antibiotics. If the assessment of the individual’s pneumonia is not that severe, the patient can take his/her antibiotics at home making sure that the right dosage is taken at the proper schedule. The duration and dosage of medication depends on the severity of the pneumonia; the doctor would specify these in his prescription. Some of the antibiotics commonly used to treat pneumonia are azithromycin, erythromycin, doxycycline, and levofloxacin.
Self Help for Adults with Pneumonia
• Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. This would help dilute the phlegm resulting to easier elimination of the mucus for easier breathing.
• Follow your doctor’s advice with regards to the right drugs to drink or the right pain medications to ease the painful symptoms of pneumonia in adults. Never forget to follow the instructions as to the dosage and when to take it.
• Don’t drink alcoholic beverages as these alter the effects of the drugs and at the same time, it makes you eliminate fluid from the body. If we don’t have enough fluid in our body, phlegm or mucus is harder to cough out.
• Eat healthy food like vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins to boost the immune system that would help fight off viruses and bacteria that caused the pneumonia.
• Follow up with your doctor especially if symptoms of pneumonia in adults worsen.
Pneumonia can be a deadly disease if not treated on time. If you feel the symptoms of pneumonia in adults, immediately seek medical attention.