What Causes Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that generally produces flu-like symptoms in the mild category. But it can be dangerous in the case of infants, children, adults older than age 65, people with a weak immune system response, and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, blood cancer, and HIV/AIDS.   

Types Of  Viruses

There can be various types of viruses, bacteria, and fungi responsible for leading to pneumonia. Pneumonia is also of different types, depending upon the causes. These infectious pathogens attack one or both lungs, infect and inflame the air sacs, and fill up the lungs with fluid or pus.     

The accumulation of fluid in the lung causes chest pain, coughing, phlegm, breathing difficulties, and flu-like symptoms like fever, nausea, fatigue, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and a drop in body temperature. All this happens after the infectious pathogens that may enter the body through air, water, soil, or exposure to clinical environments. The pathogens that lead to pneumonia are as follows:


There are different types of bacteria that can contribute to pneumonia. One of the most common causes of pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumonia, which is a bacterium that leads to Pneumococcal disease, a type of pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria is commonly found in the nose and throat of healthy individuals, especially children. These are common inhabitants of the respiratory tract that can cause severe illness by affecting the lungs.

The lungs affected by the bacteria suffer inflammation in the air sacs. The infection causes the air sacs to get filled with fluid or pus instead of air. This fluid accumulation causes breathing difficulties and other flu-like symptoms.


Various types of viruses can lead to pneumonia. Viruses that cause common colds and flu can also cause pneumonia. Viral pneumonia may produce mild symptoms and is usually very common among children. The severity of symptoms may depend on the type of virus. Some viral infections can have serious consequences. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Coronavirus (Covid-19) can also lead to pneumonia and that can be dangerous. The symptoms are usually mild in the beginning, but they can become worse after a day or so.

Moreover, Viral pneumonia can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene, a healthy lifestyle, keeping a safe distance from infected individuals, getting vaccinated, giving up smoking, and getting a good sleep every night.


Fungal pneumonia is an infection that is a result of one or more endemic opportunistic fungi or a combination of both. It can be an airborne infection, which does the same thing as viruses and bacteria. The fungi get down to the respiratory tract and start affecting the lungs.

The air sacs or alveoli present in the lungs are responsible for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and blood. The infection affects the function of air sacs by filling them up with fluid, due to this, the infected person develops breathing problems.   

Moreover, This fungal infection can be treated with antifungal medications. The fungus leads to mild symptoms that can be treated with antifungal medications. If the condition is left untreated, it can exacerbate with time. It is necessary to get timely treatment, to avoid the infection from getting any worse.   

Types of pneumonia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three different types of pneumonia that as follows:

Community-acquired pneumonia

In this type, the individual may catch the infection while being in a community-type setting. The contraction of the infection does not happen in the hospital, clinic, nursing home, or other healthcare centers. The most common types of bacteria that give rise to this type of pneumonia are Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Hemophilus influenzae, and Chlamydia pneumonia. There are indeed several other bacteria that lead to Community-acquired pneumonia.

Its symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain while inhaling or coughing
  • Heavy sputum
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Healthcare-associated pneumonia

The individual may get exposed to bacteria during their stay in a hospital or healthcare setting. Those who stay in the healthcare setting for long-term facilities including nursing homes, dialysis centers, etc. may get diagnosed with this type of pneumonia. Due to the presence of bacteria in such places, they may resist the effect of antibiotic medications. Such bacteria are more powerful and may lead to severe symptoms.  

Ventilator-associated pneumonia

Individuals that are on a life support machine that helps them with breathing, are more likely to experience this type of pneumonia. This type of infection affects individuals who are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and are already in critical condition. It can have severe consequences. The infection can develop after 48 hours or so of using a ventilator.  

What are the risk factors?  

Pneumonia can have mild symptoms and it may cause serious damage to health. The average adult can get their health restored in a few days without the treatment. However, the infection might lead to serious consequences in the case of infants, children, and older adults that are above 65 years of age. In addition, those with an underlying health issue, weak immune system, and health conditions are at high risk too. It is necessary to get treatment in case such individuals develop flu-like symptoms. Early treatment will eliminate the health risk.  

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