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How to prevent pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be a dangerous disease for elderly people. Careful handwashing and handkerchief keep the pathogens at bay.

What kind of illness is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a bronchial inflammatory disease caused by a bacterium or virus. The most common bacterium is a pneumococcal bacterium, which can live in a completely healthy human’s throat and in small amounts does not cause problems. Problems arise when for some reason it passes into the trachea and lung tissue. Because lung tissue has abundant blood vessels, the bacteria are easily transmitted to the body via the lungs.

Mycoplasma and chlamydia pneumoniae also cause pneumonia. They are usually milder than pneumococcal diseases.

About one hundred patients who are hospitalized receive treatment-related infections of pneumonia.

How does pneumonia differ from the flu?

Sometimes pneumonia comes up quite suddenly, but usually the disease is caused by some upper respiratory tract infection, such as flu or influenza. In the initial stages, these symptoms are the same, ie cough, fever, wheezing and dyspnoea. Indeed, unlike in flu, in pneumonia fever usually rises rapidly. Later, the general condition of the pneumonia patient falls, and then a doctor is needed. Sometimes pneumonia is associated with pleural inflammation, which can cause pain when breathing and coughing.

The diagnosis is based primarily on lung listening and general state assessment. Often the lungs are also checked by an X-ray. In the early stages of the disease, the X-ray picture may not show anything abnormal. Laboratory tests are also required. The most important of the blood tests is the inflammatory value, CRP.

Pneumonia with no fever?

In the elderly or sometimes in others too, pneumonia does not always come with fever. Diagnosing fever-free pneumonia is difficult.

Pneumonia is a serious risk

Pneumonia can be a risk for the elderly, those suffering from other severe diseases and even small children whose resistance has not yet developed properly. The hard-wearing disease drains the body, and the elderly and infants are more sensitive to dehydration.

In older people, white blood cell resistance to pathogens has decreased. This is why they become more susceptible to pneumonia.

Older person’s body does not cleanse pathogens in a way similar to that of a younger person, and it is difficult for the older one’s to get rid of the cause bacteria or virus. Myocardial infarction and other complications threaten an elderly pneumonia patient. Pneumonia is a common cause of death among older people.

Is pneumonia just a winter nuisance?

People may get ill with pneumonia at any time of the year, but in winter it is more common. Infectious influenza viruses at the beginning of the year are making people prone to pneumonia. Intense flu season usually means more than usual pneumonia infections.

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Is pneumonia contagious?

There is usually no need for isolation of the pneumonia patient during hospital treatment. The pre-pneumonia virus can easily be contagious, but subsequent pneumonia may not be so easily contagious.

Pneumonia needs hospital treatment?

The patient is only treated in hospital if general condition is impaired. The older a person is, the more more easily he is hospitalized. Hospital treatment is also needed when there is a risk of respiratory failure or a person ha some tedious general illness. Most of the pneumonia is treated at home.

The disease is treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin or cephalosporin. In a hospital, the antibiotic is first administered intravenously.

How long does it take to recover from pneumonia?

Young people may recover within a few days, but this may take weeks for the elderly - and sometimes the elderly will not be able to recover at all. Usually average recovery time from pneumonia is 1-3 weeks.

Home treatment for pneumonia

The home care instructions are the same as those in the flu, ie resting and drinking plenty of fluids. Some people get help from cough medicines. Fever can be reduced with paracetamol and ibuprofen. Reducing fever, it makes it easier to breathe.

Is it possible to prevent the disease by its own means?

The pathogenic viruses and bacteria usually spread by droplet infection. Therefore, mouth should be protected with a handkerchief or arm when coughing. The handkerchief must be thrown into the trash bin after use. Hand washing will help prevent infection.

The season influenza vaccine protects against pneumonia.

Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for elderly, severely ill and small children. Pneumococcal bacteria causes about 40 percent of all pneumonia.

Smokers have up to four times the risk of pneumonia when compared to nonsmokers, which means that smoking cessation will significantly prevent illness. Passive smoking increases the risk of small children getting hospitalized due to respiratory tract infection. Alcoholism increases the risk of pneumonia, as does poor dental care.

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