Pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection, which usually spreads when you come in close contact with the person who has it. Sometimes the common flu can also become severe and gets manifested into pneumonia. The person may develop common flu-like symptoms that are mild, and they generally last for a few days and go away.
In case the symptoms are severe, then it can be fatal. Especially, infants, children, older adults, and people with weak immunity are at higher risk. This is why it is necessary to always be careful by maintaining a safe distance from the person that has it and following safety measures in some highly prone areas that are contaminated with bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
The top 6 ways one can get pneumonia are given below:
Common viral flu can lead to pneumonia among individuals of all age groups. Your body naturally contains some infectious germs that remain inactive. Usually, such germs are present around the respiratory tract, the nose, throat, mouth, and lungs. These germs might become powerful and affect the lungs.
Those who smoke or have some chronic lung-related infections or pulmonary diseases will experience severe symptoms of pneumonia. Besides, people with weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions like diabetes, asthma, HIV/AIDS, cancers, etc. are more susceptible to pneumonia.
As the virus enters the respiratory system, it starts affecting the lungs. The air sacs or alveoli present in the lungs are responsible for aiding the exchange of oxygen between lungs and blood. Pneumonia causes the filling up of fluid or pus in the air sacs, which gives rise to breathing problems. The person develops fever and other flu-like symptoms such as chills, nausea, coughing, phlegm, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the chest while inhaling.
Hence, the common cold or flu can easily lead to pneumonia among some individuals that are:
- Chronic smokers
- Have weakened immune systems
- Have chronic health conditions
- Infants and children
- Older adults above 65 years of age
Proximity with an infected person
Exposure to infectious pathogens can happen when you fail to maintain a safe distance from someone who has gotten the infection. The virus can get transmitted via air-borne droplets when the infected person sneezes or coughs openly without covering their mouth. It is a very contagious disease, which can easily be transferred when the person inhales the infectious pathogens that have contaminated the air.
The pathogens enter the host body, get down to the respiratory system, and infect and inflame the lungs. Inflammation happens in the air sacs, which causes them to fill will fluid. The accumulation of fluid causes breathing difficulties and phlegm build-up. So, try to maintain a safe distance from an infected individual and implement ways to strengthen your immune system.
Corona virus (Covid-19)
Coronavirus is caused due to SARS CoV-2, which is the virus that infects the lungs and leads to the accumulation of fluid in the air sacs or alveoli present in the lungs. It can cause short-term lung damage. The fluid builds up in the air sacs causing inflammation. It can have fatal consequences. This type of viral infection can be treated at home, or in some cases, the person might need to be hospitalized.
Influenza is a virus that can potentially cause severe pneumonia. It contributes to the weakening of the immune system and triggers an inflammatory response in the body. After contracting the virus, you may experience some symptoms of the common cold, which include, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, and runny nose.
Healthcare clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, etc. are places where there is a high possibility of catching pneumonia infection. The infectious pathogens present in these places are quite powerful and aggressive because they do not get affected by the effects of antibacterial and antifungal treatments. Since they are primarily found in such areas, they gain immunity against antibiotics.
Patients in the intensive care units (ICU), on ventilators, or getting dialysis are more likely to develop pneumonia. Such people are directly exposed to bacteria and viruses, which can affect their lungs and lead to breathing difficulties in them. It can produce serious health complications.
Inhalation of food particles, drink, or saliva into the lungs
This type of pneumonia is called aspiration pneumonia. It happens when you inhale some things in the lungs, including food, liquid, some foreign object, toxin, saliva, vomit digestive juices, or anything that is non-air. When something other than air lands in your lungs, you immediately develop an urge to cough until you feel better. This potentiates the risk of developing pneumonia.
A condition like pneumonia is quite common in all age groups. It can cause some mild symptoms that disappear in a few days. It is quite tough to distinguish between common flu and pneumonia. The diagnostic tests reveal whether the individual has caught a common flu or pneumonia infection. Based on that, the medical treatment will be followed.