Bacterial pneumonia symptoms can occur gradually or may have a sudden onset. This article provides some information on the condition and its symptoms in adults as well as in the elderly.
Pneumonia is an infection or inflammation of the lungs that causes the air sacs in the lungs to be filled with pus and other fluids. This causes a lot of difficulty for the oxygen to reach the blood. Furthermore, it can affect the lungs in two ways, lobar pneumonia that affects the lung lobes and bronchial pneumonia that affects the patches of the lungs. The different causes include bacteria, viruses, fungi, mycoplasmas, and chemical agents.
What is Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacterial pneumonia, as the name suggests, is caused by bacteria. One comes in contact with millions of bacteria all the time, while breathing infected air droplets or touching contaminated objects. Their symptoms are mainly seen in the affected people with a weakened immune system, like those recovering from a bout of flu or common cold. There are many bacterial agents that can cause the symptoms. These bacteria include:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Haemophilus influenzae
- Legionella pneumophila
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae
Symptoms in Adults
These symptoms can develop almost suddenly or at times, they are observed to develop gradually. The following are some of them:
- Cough with rust or green-colored phlegm (mucus)
- Blue tint on lips or under the nails (in severe cases)
- Chest pain
- Clammy skin
- Fast breathing and heartbeat
- Feeling very tired
- High fever (up to 105 degrees)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Teeth chattering
Symptoms in Elderly
These symptoms are a bit different from those in children and adults. They develop gradually and are not very noticeable. Also, they are not very specific. An affected elderly person may feel weak and dizzy and just fall down. Further, they may lose their appetite and become more sleepy.
Some of the other symptoms would include:
- Persistent cough
- Green or yellow phlegm
- Chest pain
- Mental confusion
- Shortness of breath
The treatment would generally consist of antibiotics like penicillin, in case of pneumococcal pneumonia. Other treatments include hospitalization, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, analgesics to reduce fever, acetaminophen to reduce fever, etc. The recovery time would be about 24 to 48 hours after receiving the proper treatment.
This infection does not happen by getting soaked wet in a rain storm. Whereas, anyone can become infected with this medical condition, and under any circumstances. Bacterial pneumonia in infants and young children is not as common as viral pneumonia.
Those who are cigarette smokers tend to become susceptible to this medical condition due to damage to their lungs. Alcoholism also increases the risk of this medical condition. Also, people with a compromised immune system like the elderly, and the affected people in the hospital are also at risk of this infection. It is an extremely contagious condition and can spread through sneezing, coughing, or phlegm.
On observation of the aforementioned symptoms, it would be necessary to consult the health care provider. This medical condition could lead to many serious health complications, if not treated as early as possible. Thus, early detection and prompt treatment would help save one from this infection.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.