When pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection, it is referred to as bacterial pneumonia. While a host of bacteria can cause pneumonia, Streptococcus is typically the culprit in many cases of bacterial pneumonia. These bacteria can inhabit the upper respiratory tract without bringing about any issues in young people who are in good health.
However, these bacteria can penetrate the lungs in individuals who have a weakened immune system. When these pathogens enter the lungs, they cause inflammation and a buildup of fluid, resulting in pneumonia.
You have an increased risk of catching bacterial pneumonia if:
– You are over the age of 65
– You have a pre-existing condition such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, or diabetes
– You are in recovery from a major operation
– You have vitamin or mineral deficiencies due to a poor diet
– You have an ailment that weakens your immune system function
– You are a smoker
– Your alcohol intake is high
– You have a viral infection
Those with an impaired immune system due to HIV, certain cancers such as leukemia, and an organ transplantation also run a higher risk of catching bacterial pneumonia.
Bacterial Pneumonia Symptoms
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can present themselves rather abruptly and intensely. The most common ones include:
– A 105+ F fever accompanied by chills
– Persistent coughing accompanied by yellow or greenish discharge
– Trouble breathing while moving and chest pain while inhaling deeply or coughing
– Fatigue and a decrease in appetite
– Rapid breathing and sweating profusely
– Cognitive impairment, particularly among the elderly
Preventing Bacterial Pneumonia
There are two types of pneumonia vaccination that can prevent bacterial pneumonia: PCV13 and PPSV23. Consult with your primary physician about whether you or your children should get the pneumonia vaccine. In addition to the vaccines, here are some precautionary measures you can take to reduce your risk of pneumonia:
– Washing your hands after you use the bathroom and before having food
– Having a healthy, balanced diet consisting of lots of vegetables and fruits
– Taking up regular exercise
– Improving your sleep quality and getting enough rest
– Giving up smoking if you are a smoker
– Keeping your distance from individuals who are noticeably ill
Treating Bacterial Pneumonia
In most cases, the use of antibiotics is necessary to recover from bacterial pneumonia. It is paramount to complete your antibiotic treatment as cutting your treatment short can lead to a recurrence. Your physician may also recommend or prescribe certain medications for your symptoms of fever and pain. Most patients who receive treatment for bacterial pneumonia see an improvement in their condition over the course of a few days. That said, it may be at least a couple of weeks before you return to normal health.
In severe cases of pneumonia, a short stay at the hospital may be necessary during which patients typically receive oxygen therapy along with intravenous fluids. While you are getting over a case of bacterial pneumonia, drink lots of fluids, avoid smoking, and get plenty of rest to speed up your recovery process.
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