What Happens When You Contract Pneumonia

”Doctor with chart in hand"
Pneumonia is a condition where inflammation occurs in the air sacs of one or both lungs. These sacs are known as alveoli and may be filled with fluids such as water or puss. It can cause a glut of coughing, which is accompanied by phlegm. Phlegm is a thick substance secreted by the mucous membrane.

The infection predominantly affects children and adults aged five and above. Quite often, a bout of pneumonia can mean a visit to the hospital.

We will delve into the significant details of this disease, including what causes the inflammation, different types of pneumonia, symptoms that patients exhibit, risks involved, diagnosing the disease, and viable treatments.


Pneumonia is classified into different types by health care professionals. This categorization is based on how the ailment is acquired. First and foremost, two broad categories are identified by doctors. These are:

  • Community-Acquired Pneumonia

When the disease develops beyond the realms of a hospital, it is known as community-acquired pneumonia. It is a common occurrence, particularly in winter and affects more than four million individuals in the United States annually.

  • Hospital Acquired Pneumonia

The other broad category is called hospital-acquired pneumonia. As the name implies, this transpires when a patient is admitted to the hospital for reasons other than pneumonia. Being subjected to a ventilator, for instance, can augment the risk of developing pneumonia.

Furthermore, the advent of pneumonia can be broken down into categories based on how severe the lung tissue is damaged:

  1. Bronchopneumonia is a condition where deposits which cause the inflammation are dispersed in the lungs
  2. Lobar pneumonia follows an inflammation of one lobe of the lung, which includes all the air spaces in the specific lobe
  3. Lipoid pneumonia is simply the accretion of fats in the airspace

That is not all though. Pneumonia can also be divided into varying types depending on the germs that cause the disease. For example, bacterial pneumonia is caused by the presence of bacteria, the most common of which is known as streptococcus.

Respiratory viruses can also cause viral pneumonia, particularly in infants and the elderly. However, in majority cases, it subsides quickly. Mycoplasma pneumonia is a combination of both instances mentioned above while fungal pneumonia is the ill effect of soil and bird droppings.


Symptoms of pneumonia
Signs of pneumonia can change depending on whether the condition is mild or extreme and also, the type of infection that the patient develops. The most common indicators of the ailment are abundant coughing. While coughing is a precursor to several health concerns, wheezing linked to pneumonia will generally be accompanied by the excretion of excess phlegm. This is dense, yellow material that originates from mucus. It can also be bloody in severe cases.

Similarly, high fever can be a signal that something worse is around the corner and the same applies to pneumonia too. It is often connected with the sensation of chills through the body. Sometimes, as was the case with a 15-year-old teenager, he acquired a chronic cough, but showed no other systems; however, after visiting the doctor, he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

Alternatively, other manifestations include chest congestion and agony, which worsens as you breathe. A disconcerting headache and a general loss of appetite. This can often lead to diminished energy and/or fatigue.


Although anyone can develop the condition, there are some who are at greater risk than others when it pertains to respiratory illness. Determinants which augment the element of risk include people with a compromised immune system, poor health, senior citizens and cigarette smoking, to mention a few. The adverse effects that smoking has on the human body are well known. The phrase ‘smoking is injurious to health’ is a common disclaimer that is often found on the packaging of cigarettes.

A respiratory infection can also lead to the advent of pneumonia. For instance, if a patient has recently suffered from a bout of influenza or laryngitis, it may well turn in to pneumonia. Also, those who experience difficulty in swallowing, which can happen because of various issues, are also prone to developing the disease.

Moreover, patients with bronchitis and fibrosis or any other lung oriented illness are increasingly vulnerable. Experiencing augmented stress or trauma can trigger pneumonia and so can live in a nursing accommodation. All in all, there are multiple risk factors associated with pneumonia.


Sometimes, doctors may encounter difficulty in diagnosing the infection. Like asthma and bronchitis, pneumonia shares many of the same symptoms. For example, coughing and chest pain are common indicators of several diseases, which is the main reason doctors are hard pressed may have to run a series of tests.

When you consult a physician, they may run tests related to your breathing and question you regarding how long you’ve had coughing and if it contains phlegm. Problems with inhaling and exhaling and checking your body temperature is another diagnosis that may arise.


In terms of treatment, there are different routes that patients can take. Conventional wisdom suggests that a doctor must be consulted primarily. This will lead to prescribed treatment of the disease. Antibiotics and antiviral medication may be given by doctors, subject to the cause and severity of pneumonia. Examples of suitable pharmaceuticals include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Pneumonia can also be treated at home. This would ideally include plenty of rest combined with the prescribed medication and an abundance of water intake.

In extreme cases, hospitalization may be necessary. This happens when a patient has another condition which can cause complications and subsequently, the situation can worsen. Also, appropriate diagnosis is necessary to determine how the individual initially acquired these diseases. Doctors monitor your vitals, such as your heart rate while you are admitted. They will also inject intravenous antibiotics into the system and employ oxygen therapy to assuage the patient.

Bottom line is if you acquire severe coughing that doesn’t appear to diminish, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.