Jiahe (Donny) Wang
Oct. 9, 2018
Pneumonia-What is it? And What to Do about It?
Pneumonia, a very common disease in the U.S. Since I was a little kid when I was in China, I have been hearing about this term, the only difference is the language. I remember some of the kids would miss a couple days of school because of this, and I always thought they are really lucky that did not have to go to school for a couple days. But as I grow older and older, I realize that how lucky I was that I did not get pneumonia at all, because it is a really serious problem. So what exactly is pneumonia? What caused it? What is the symptom when a person get infected? And what the treatment will the person will receive when they git infected? This paper (essay) will discuss about pneumonia and all the question mentioned above.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It causes the air sacs of the lungs to get inflamed. The air sacs (alveoli) may fill up with fluid or pus, and this causes a variety of symptoms. Pneumonia is usually caused either by bacteria or a virus. It can also be caused by fungi or irritants that you breathe into your lungs. The severeness of a person’s pneumonia is depending on many other factors. These include what caused the pneumonia, your age, and your overall health. (Pneumonia, 2018) Even though the people who are most at risk are those who are over 65 or longer than 2, there is still huge chance for people who are between those 2 ages to catch pneumonia. And with all of above being said, the following will be helpful for identifying pneumonia.
The severeness of a person’s pneumonia can be vary, depending on the type of pneumonia a person have, the person’s age and the person’s health. The most common symptoms of pneumonia are: cough, fever, shaking chills, and shortness of breath. Additional symptoms include: sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough; headache; excessive sweating and clammy skin; loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue; confusion, especially in older people. Symptoms also can vary, depending on whether your pneumonia is bacterial or viral. In bacterial pneumonia, your temperature may rise as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit . This pneumonia can cause extensive sweating, and increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nail-beds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. The patient may be confused or delirious. The initial symptoms of viral pneumonia are the same as flu symptoms: fever, dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within 12 to 36 hours, there is increasing breathlessness; the cough becomes worse and produces a small amount of mucus. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips. (Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors, 2018). Recall form my memory, the “lucky” kids, who are missing a couple days of school because of pneumonia, was coughing and have flu or cold-like symptom when I saw them before they get really sick. And that can be dangerous since people would treat them as normal cold and will not be able to get proper treatment when they need to, which eventually lead to more serious problem to their health and even put their lives in danger. Another problem caused by some of those people is spreading the disease. Pneumonia is contagious if other people breathe in the droplets cough or sneeze out by those who are infected by pneumonia. There are also some risk factors that will eventually lead a person to be infected by pneumonia.
First factor is a person’s age. People who are older than 65 are at increased risk because the immune system is not string enough to fight against infection as you age. Infants age 2 or younger are also at risk due to their immune systems still under developing, and therefore not strong enough either to fight against infection. The second factor is the environment. People who regularly breathing in dust, chemicals, air pollution, or toxic fumes can damage their lungs. This makes the lungs easier to be infected due to all the conditions above are destroying a person’s immune system. The third factor is the lifestyle. A person who smoke cigarettes or using e-cigarettes or abusing alcohol can increase the risk. Smoking and vaping damage the lungs. And alcohol interferes with how a person’s body fights infection. The forth factor is the immune system. If a person’s immune system is weak or weakened, it’s easier for them to get pneumonia because their body can not fight off the infection. This could include people who have HIV/AIDS, have had an organ transplant, or have long-term steroid use. The fifth factor is if a person is being hospitalized, especially in an ICU, that person will have a more chance to be infected by pneumonia. Being in the ICU (intensive care unit) raises the risk of infected by pneumonia. The risk even increase more if a person is using a ventilator to help him/her breathe. Ventilators make it hard for people to cough and can trap germs that cause infection in the lungs. The sixth factor is that if a person has recently had major surgery or a serious injury, that person will also have more chance to get infected by pneumonia. Recovering from some surgeries can make a person difficult to cough as well. Coughing is the body’s quickest defense for getting particles out of the lungs. Recovery also typically requires a lot of bed rest, which lying down on the back for an extended period of time can allow fluid or mucus to gather inside the lungs. This gives bacteria a place to grow.
Last but not least, people who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, heart disease, and emphysema (Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors, 2018).
Jiahe (Donny) Wang