1. What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs; there are two main types of pneumonia–Lobar Pneumonia and Bronchopneumonia. Lobar pneumonia usually affects a whole section of the lung and is more common in the 30-50 years age bracket. On the other hand, bronchopneumonia affects several little areas of the two lungs and is more common in the extremes of life—under 2 years of age and over 65 years of age.
Pneumonia occurs worldwide but it is more deadly in the developing countries of Africa, South East Asia and South America where poor housing is common.
Pneumonia is one of the childhood killer diseases and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease accounts for about 15 percent of all childhood (under 5 years) deaths globally.
2. What Causes Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and occasionally parasites.
3. How Does Pneumonia Spread?
Pneumonia is an airborne disease, it spreads through droplets, dust containing the causative agents and contact with articles contaminated by discharge from sneezing or coughing. Careless spitting on the ground can become a source of infection if the spit contains the agent. When dried up and becomes part of the dust, one can breathe it in following a wind. In a crowded place, one can also breathe in droplets from sneezing and/or coughing.
4. When Do You Suspect You May Have Pneumonia?
Fever, chest pain, difficult breathing, cough with production of sputum and fatigue are some of the symptoms of pneumonia. If you or any of your family members have the above symptoms, please consult a doctor immediately.
5. What Can Put You at Risk?.
Living in overcrowded and poorly ventilated house, alcohol abuse and smoking. Those suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes are also at greater risk. Age is another risk factor—bronchopneumonia is more common in the extremes of life—under 2 years of age and over 65 years of age.
Finally those on anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapy) and those who have immuno-suppressive conditions such as HIV/AIDS or on immune-suppressive drugs after organ transplant are also much at risk.
6. What are the Possible Complications of Pneumonia?
Complications of pneumonia include Bronchiectasis, endocarditis, lung abscess, meningitis,delirium and death.
7. Is pneumonia infection preventable?
Pneumonia is preventable; you can avoid it through vaccination, healthy lifestyle and proper hygiene, good nutrition and good accommodation.