All You Need to Know About Pneumonia 0

Pneumonia is the inflammation of the tissues of the lungs. Its usually caused by bacteria but studies have confirmed it can also be caused by a virus and fungi.

If a person is infected, the air sacs become filled with fluid or pus, causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Pneumonia can be mild or life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65, and people with health problems or weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Chest pain usually precipitated by cough or when you breathe
  • Cough which usually produces phlegm
  • Coughing up blood(haemoptysis)
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • headaches
  • rapid heartbeat/pulse
  • Nausea and or vomiting

Neonates and infants may show no sign or may exhibit these:

  • Fever
  • difficulty breathing
  • cough
  • restlessness
  • difficulty eating

See your GP if you feel unwell and you have typical symptoms of pneumonia.

CAUSES

A Bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Many different types of bacteria, including Haemophilus influenzae and Staphylococcus aureus, can also cause pneumonia, as well as viruses and, more rarely, fungi.

As well as bacterial pneumonia, other types include:

  • Aspiration pneumonia– caused by breathing in vomit, a foreign object, such as a peanut, or a harmful substance, such as smoke or a chemical
  • Bacteria-like organisms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae also can cause pneumonia. It typically produces milder symptoms than do other types of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is an informal name given to this type of pneumonia.
  • Viruses. Some of the viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause pneumonia. Viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 5 years and are usually mild.
  • Fungi. This type of pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems, and in people who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. The fungi that cause it can be found in soil or bird droppings and vary depending upon geographic location.
  • hospital-acquired pneumonia pneumonia that develops in a hospital while being treated for another condition or having an operation; people in intensive care on breathing machines are particularly at risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia

Risk factors

Pneumonia can affect anyone. But the following groups have an increased risk of developing pneumonia:

  • Children who are 2 years old or younger
  •  elderly people who are age 65 or older
  • people with other health conditions, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or a heart, kidney or liver condition
  • people who smoke
  • people with a weakened immune system – for example, as a result of a recent illness, such as flu, having HIV or AIDS, having chemotherapy, or taking medication following an organ transplant

Diagnosis

Your doctor may be able to diagnose by asking about your symptoms and examining your chest, including listening to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal bubbling or crackling sounds. Further tests may be needed in some cases.

Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because it shares many symptoms with other conditions, such as the common cold, bronchitis and asthma.

If pneumonia is suspected, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Blood tests. Blood tests are used to confirm an infection and to try to identify the type of organism causing the infection. However, precise identification isn’t always possible.
  • Sputum test. A sample of fluid from your lungs (sputum) is taken after a deep cough and analyzed to help pinpoint the cause of the infection
  • Chest X-ray. This helps your doctor diagnose pneumonia and determine the extent and location of the infection. However, it can’t tell your doctor what kind of germ is causing the infection.
  • Pulse oximetry. This measures the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.

Additional tests may be ordered by your doctor if you’re older than age 65, are in the hospital, or have serious symptoms or health conditions. These may include:

  • CT scan. If your pneumonia isn’t clearing as quickly as expected, your doctor may recommend a chest CT scan to obtain a more detailed image of your lungs.
  • Pleural fluid culture. A fluid sample is taken by putting a needle between your ribs from the pleural area and analyzed to help determine the type of infection.

Treating pneumonia

Mild pneumonia can usually be treated at home by:

  • taking antibiotics
  • Cough medicine. This medicine may be used to calm your cough so that you can rest. Because coughing helps loosen and move fluid from your lungs, it’s a good idea not to eliminate your cough completely.
  • Fever reducers/pain relievers. You may take these as needed for fever and discomfort. These include drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
  • getting plenty of rest
  • drinking plenty of fluids

You may need to be hospitalized if:

  • You are older than age 65
  • You are confused about time, people or places
  • Your kidney function has declined
  • Your systolic blood pressure is below 90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) or your diastolic blood pressure is 60 mm Hg or below
  • Your breathing is rapid (30 breaths or more a minute)
  • You need breathing assistance
  • Your temperature is below normal
  • Your heart rate is below 50 or above 100 They are younger than age 2 months
  • They are lethargic or excessively sleepy
  • They have trouble breathing
  • They have low blood oxygen levels
  • They appear dehydrated

Preventing pneumonia

Although most cases of pneumonia are bacterial and aren’t passed on from one person to another, ensuring good standards of hygiene will help prevent germs spreading.

For example, you should:

  • cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • throw away used tissues immediately – germs can live for several hours after they leave your nose or mouth
  • wash your hands regularly to avoid transferring germs to other people or objects

A healthy lifestyle can also help prevent pneumonia. For example, you should avoid smoking as it damages your lungs and increases the chance of infection.

Complications

Even with treatment, some people, especially those in high-risk groups, may experience complications, including:

  • Lung abscess. An abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lung. An abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed into the abscess is needed to remove the pus.
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia). Bacteria that enter the bloodstream from your lungs can spread the infection to other organs, potentially causing organ failure.
  • Fluid accumulation around the lungs (pleural effusion). Pneumonia may cause fluid to build up in the thin space between layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity (pleura). If the fluid becomes infected, you may need to have it drained through a chest tube or removed with surgery.
  • Difficulty breathing. If your infection is severe or you have chronic underlying lung diseases, you may have trouble breathing in enough oxygen. You may need to be hospitalized and use a breathing machine (ventilator) while your lung heals

 

Sources: Mayoclinic.org and nhs.uk

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Radio drama improves people’s attitude to health 0

A radio drama project to promote child nutrition, agriculture and maternal/child health issues has shown an improved attitude of listeners to such issues.

According to the project implemented for six months at Saboba and Savelugu Assemblies in the Northern Region in 2018, those, who listened to the radio dramas on child nutrition, agriculture and maternal/child health issues, improved in terms of their attitude towards those issues compared to those, who did not listen.

The project, whose findings were released at a workshop in Tamale on Friday, used radio dramas to propagate messages on good nutrition, health and agricultural practices to listeners to assess if listening to such messages would have any impact on their lives.

It was implemented by the Texas A&M University School of Public Health in the United States, University for Development Studies (UDS), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Community Health Nurses Training College, Tamale.

Dr Mahama Saaka, Senior Lecturer, Department of Nutritional Sciences of UDS, who presented the findings at a forum in Tamale, said even though the attitude of listeners improved, it did not result in a change in their health conditions as malnutrition was still high at the area.

Dr Saaka suggested that Ghana Health Service scale up the project to reach a large number of the population to help change their attitudes to help improve the country’s health indicators.

Professor Lisako McKyer, Associate Dean for Climate and Diversity, Health Promotion and Community Health Science at Texas A&M University was hopeful that the project marked the beginning of a productive partnership amongst the implementers saying “Together, we can and we will positively impact the lives of all.”

Hajia Azara Amadu, Northern Regional Nutrition Officer lauded the project saying it was in line with the behavioural change campaigns of the GHS to promote improved health practices amongst the people.

Source: GNA

Adverse Health Effects of Plastics 0

In addition to creating safety problems during production, many chemical additives that give plastic products desirable performance properties also have negative environmental and human health effects. These effects include

  • Direct toxicity, as in the cases of lead, cadmium, and mercury
  • Carcinogens, as in the case of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Endocrine disruption, which can lead to cancers, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in

Chemical Migration from Plastic Packaging into Contents

People are exposed to these chemicals not only during manufacturing, but also by using plastic packages, because some chemicals migrate from the plastic packaging to the foods they contain. Examples of plastics contaminating food have been reported with most plastic types, including Styrene from polystyrene, plasticizers from PVC, antioxidants from polyethylene, and Acetaldehyde from PET.

Among the factors controlling migration are the chemical structure of the migrants and the nature of the packaged food. In studies cited in Food Additives and Contaminants, LDPE, HDPE, and polypropylene bottles released measurable levels of BHT, Chimassorb 81, Irganox PS 800, Irganix 1076, and Irganox 1010 into their contents of vegetable oil and ethanol. Evidence was also found that acetaldehyde migrated out of PET and into water.

Recommendations

Find alternatives to plastic products whenever possible. Some specific suggestions:

  • Buy food in glass or metal containers; avoid polycarbonate drinking bottles with Bisphenol A
  • Avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap.
  • Do not give young children plastic teethers or toys
  • Use natural fiber clothing, bedding and furniture
  • Avoid all PVC and Styrene products
Plastic Common Uses Adverse Health Effects
Polyvinylchloride (#3PVC) Food packaging, plastic wrap, containers for toiletries, cosmetics, crib bumpers, floor tiles, pacifiers, shower curtains, toys, water pipes, garden hoses, auto upholstery, inflatable swimming pools Can cause cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, chronic bronchitis, ulcers, skin diseases, deafness, vision failure, indigestion, and liver dysfunction
Phthalates (DEHP, DINP, and others) Softened vinyl products manufactured with phthalates include vinyl clothing, emulsion paint, footwear, printing inks, non-mouthing toys and children’s products, product packaging and food wrap, vinyl flooring, blood bags and tubing, IV containers and components, surgical gloves, breathing tubes, general purpose labware, inhalation masks, many other medical devices Endocrine disruption, linked to asthma, developmental and reporoductive effects. Medical waste with PVC and pthalates is regularly incinerated causing public health effects from the relese of dioxins and mercury, including cancer, birth defects, hormonal changes, declining sperm counts, infertility, endometriosis, and immune system impairment.
Polycarbonate, with Bisphenol A (#7) Water bottles Scientists  have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired  immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and  hyperactivity, among other problems (Environment California)
Polystyrene Many food containers for meats, fish, cheeses, yogurt, foam and clear clamshell containers, foam and rigid plates, clear bakery containers, packaging “peanuts”, foam packaging, audio cassette housings, CD cases, disposable cutlery, building insulation, flotation devices, ice buckets, wall tile, paints, serving trays, throw-away hot drink cups, toys Can irritate eyes, nose and throat and can cause dizziness and unconsciousness. Migrates into food and stores in body fat. Elevated rates of lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers for workers.
Polyethelyne (#1 PET) Water and soda bottles, carpet fiber, chewing gum, coffee stirrers, drinking glasses, food containers and wrappers, heat-sealed plastic packaging, kitchenware, plastic bags, squeeze bottles, toys Suspected human carcinogen
Polyester Bedding, clothing, disposable diapers, food packaging, tampons, upholstery Can cause eye and respiratory-tract irritation and acute skin rashes
Urea-formaldehyde Particle board, plywood, building insulation, fabric finishes Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen and has been shown to cause birth defects and genetic changes. Inhaling formaldehyde can cause cough, swelling of the throat, watery eyes, breathing problems, headaches, rashes, tiredness
Polyurethane Foam Cushions, mattresses, pillows Bronchitis, coughing, skin and eye problems. Can release toluene diisocyanate which can produce severe lung problems
Acrylic Clothing, blankets, carpets made from acrylic fibers, adhesives, contact lenses, dentures, floor waxes, food preparation equipment, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, paints Can cause breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, weakness, headache and fatigue
Tetrafluoro-
ethelyne
Non-stick coating on cookware, clothes irons, ironing board covers, plumbing and tools Can irritate eyes, nose and throat and can cause breathing difficulties

Sources:

 

ecologycenter.org

Send this to a friend