Know More About Pneumonia

Posted On Jul 21, 2020

Dr. Farhan Fazal

Consultant - Infectious Disease

Manipal Hospitals - Mangalore

infectious disease specialist in Mangalore

World pneumonia day is marked on the 12th of November to raise awareness about pneumonia and its symptoms, treatment, and prevention among the public.  

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It occurs by the microorganism entering the lung through inhalation (either by nose or mouth) and causing infection. According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016 estimates, pneumonia was one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

I am a healthy person, can I get pneumonia as well?

Anyone can get pneumonia but children <5y and adults >65yr or with underlying medical conditions like heart, liver, kidney, lung disease, diabetes, and patients on long-term steroids or smokers are at high risk for developing pneumonia and its complication. Consult with an infectious disease specialist in Mangalore to know more about pneumonia.

What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia is commonly caused by bacteria followed by viruses and less commonly by fungi. 

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

The usual symptoms are fever, chills, cough with expectoration, breathing difficulty, rapid heart and breathing rate and less commonly nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. A patient can also become confused, agitated in later stages of pneumonia. 

How will the doctor diagnose pneumonia?

Doctors will ask for your history of symptoms, examine you thoroughly especially the chest. Blood test, sputum examination and chest X-ray will help in confirming the diagnosis. A further test will be done depending on the severity of the patients. Visit the best infectious disease treatment hospital in Mangalore for the diagnosis.

How do we treat pneumonia?

Depending on the cause of pneumonia, antibiotics are given to treat bacterial pneumonia, antiviral are given for viral and antifungal treatment given for fungi causing pneumonia. Iv fluids, oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation may be required according to the clinical severity of the patient.

Pneumonia occurring after admission to a hospital is same as that occurring at home?

No, the difference is the type of bacteria causing pneumonia, hospital-acquired pneumonia is more difficult to treat because the bacteria in the hospital have become more resistant to regular antibiotics. 

Can pneumonia be managed at home?

It depends on your clinical condition and the risk of developing complications. Do not decide to treat pneumonia at home. Take advice from your doctor who will advise you according to your condition.  

When can I expect recovery from pneumonia?

Fever and breathing difficulty usually responds in 2-3 days, the cough usually persists for 3-4 weeks and x-ray improvement may take a longer time to improve. some people may have weakness and lethargy for a few weeks following pneumonia. 

When should I consult a doctor?

If you have symptoms of pneumonia, especially if you are a high-risk patient with an underlying medical condition you should seek immediate help since pneumonia can be a lethal disease. Your doctor can also advise you regarding vaccines that might help in preventing pneumonia.

What measures can I take to prevent pneumonia infection?

General measures: Handwashing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs regularly can be effective. Other measures are avoiding smoking and alcohol abuse. Control of your diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, liver and heart disease can also help in the prevention of pneumonia.

If you have symptoms of pneumonia, then you should cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing to prevent from spreading of infections to your family members.

Are there vaccines which can prevent pneumonia in adults?

Yes, there are vaccines against Streptococcus pneumoniae which is one of the most common bacteria causing pneumonia. There is also a vaccine against influenza which can help the prevention of infection and decrease complications.

How expensive are these vaccines and which ones should I take?

The cost of the vaccine ranges from 1000-3000 INR and depending on your age and underlying medical condition, the doctor can prescribe you these vaccines.

How often should I take these vaccines?

Influenza vaccine has to be taken every year as the strain of virus circulating in the community keeps changing. Pneumococcal vaccine can be taken every 5 years usually up to 3 times after which the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases. 

Will I never get pneumonia after I take the vaccine? How effective are these vaccines?

No, these vaccines only prevent pneumonia due to Streptococcus pneumonia and influenza. There are still many other organisms that can lead to pneumonia and no protection will be offered against them. Studies show around a 40% reduction in hospitalization and death with pneumococcal vaccines.


Dr Farhan Fazal

Consultant Infectious Disease 

KMC Hospital, Dr B R Ambedkar Circle, Mangalore




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