There are several myths regarding the possible causes and treatment of pneumonia that have been doing the rounds for a while now. The following HealthHearty article dispels some myths associated with this respiratory problem.
Did You Know?
Babies who are breastfed for the first 6 months are unlikely to get pneumonia during their infancy.
Misunderstandings about pneumonia stem from the myths that have been circulated by self-proclaimed health experts for years. These myths are misleading and do not portray this respiratory problem in the light it should be. If you want to educate yourself about pneumonia, the most important thing you need to do is find out all about these potentially dangerous pneumonia-related myths that can lead to unwanted situations, if discretion is not exercised.
Pneumonia can Always be Treated with Antibiotics
This myth needs to be debunked immediately as it does not take the underlying cause into consideration and one might end up opting for/getting the wrong treatment. First of all, antibiotics are used only to treat bacterial infection and pneumonia is not always bacterial in nature. Although bacteria is the most common cause, viruses and fungi can also affect the lungs and cause pneumonia. Also, in case bacteria are resistant to antibiotics bacterial pneumonia is unlikely to respond to antibiotic treatment.
Pneumonia is Just Another Type of Common Cold
Whosoever said this made a very dangerous assumption public. The fact is that pneumonia is much more than just common cold. The initial symptoms of pneumonia are akin to that of common cold. Maybe, that is why many consider it as just another cold. However, as the condition progresses, the symptoms aggravate and require timely medical intervention.
Only the Elderly Require Vaccination to Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, people above 65 years of age are at an increased risk of contracting pneumonia, but that doesn’t mean only this group who should consider/opt for inoculation. Children and young adults who are suffering from chronic ailments like asthma, COPD, diabetes, and HIV, people who drink excess alcohol, or those with an impaired immune system should all consult their doctors about the necessity of getting vaccinated to keep pneumonia at bay.
Healthy Individuals are Immune to Pneumonia
This myth has roots in the fact that people with a weakened immune system are likely to get infected with pneumonia. Although a healthy immune system is usually capable of ‘thwarting’ a pneumonia infection, it would be wrong to conclude that healthy people are completely in the safe zone when it comes to contracting the infection. In other words, even if your overall health is good, you can still get pneumonia. There is no denying the fact that healthy individuals are at a reduced risk of getting afflicted but considering them completely resistant to this infection would be an overstatement.
Only People Living in Cold Climatic Conditions Develop Pneumonia
So, you thought you are least likely to get pneumonia because you are staying in a tropical environment? Oh, how I wish this was true! The fact is that the possibility of getting pneumonia is least dependent on weather conditions. During winter, we prefer to stay indoors, and travel outside only if necessary. Indoor environment, which is warmer, sets the stage for the pneumonia-causing bacteria to thrive and affect people, as a large percentage of the general population has the tendency to spend most of their time at home. Hence, there is a sudden rise in the number of pneumonia cases in the months of winter. In tropical regions, the prevailing climatic conditions are hot and humid, favorable for the growth of pneumonic bacteria. Tropical countries that are marked by hot temperatures, crowded environment, and lifestyles exposed to pollutants and poor nutrition are the ones that exhibit a higher number of pneumonia cases.
Pneumonia is Not Preventable
Pneumonia is preventable provided you follow a healthy diet, ditch unhealthy habits, such as smoking, maintain proper personal hygiene, adhere to high standards of sanitary practices, and minimize your exposure to air pollutants. All these factors help strengthen the immune system, which may help keep pneumonia at bay.
Double Pneumonia is More Serious than Single Pneumonia
People assume that as double pneumonia affects both the lungs, it is more dangerous than single pneumonia. This assumption is incorrect as the number of lungs infected cannot be a deciding factor to assess the severity of the condition. Acute pneumonia that affects just one lobe of the lung can be more severe than a chronic case of double pneumonia. So without evaluating how severe the infection is, it would be wrong to conclude that double pneumonia is more serious.
Hospitalization is Mandatory to Treat Pneumonia
The severity of pneumonia will differ from one person to another. For instance, people with an impaired immune system are likely to have severe pneumonia. On the other hand, a healthy immune system is capable enough to ‘tame’ pneumonia and so the symptoms observed are mild and do not require any hospitalization. Often, home remedies are enough to cure mild to moderate cases of pneumonia.
Taking Bed Rest for Weeks is a Must to Cure Pneumonia
Yes, people stricken by pneumonia take time to recover and taking rest is the first line of treatment recommended to prevent the condition from worsening. However, that doesn’t mean the afflicted person lies down all day long unless the condition is extremely severe and the patient is put on a ventilator. Immobility for the entire day is certainly not the solution to cure pneumonia and will not help expel excess mucus from your respiratory tract. So, it is advised to take light walks for brief periods in order to help clear the mucus and relieve your breathing problems.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.