Pneumonia: Infection can affect your breathing in three different ways – what to spot

Covid: ‘Three times’ more deaths than flu and pneumonia

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Pneumonia is a type of chest infection affecting the tiny air sacs in lungs. When a person has pneumonia, these air sacs get inflamed and fill with fluid making it harder to breathe. There are three ways pneumonia can affect a person’s breathing warning it may be pneumonia.

Signs in your breath warning of pneumonia include:

Rapid, shallow breathing

Shortness of breath

Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe. 

There are two types of pneumonia, bacterial and viral.

Bacterial pneumonia is the most common form and tends to be the more serious type.

The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days.

 Early symptoms are similar to influenza such as a dry cough, headache and muscle pain.

“Symptoms may vary in certain populations, said the American Lung Association.

It added: “Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms.

“They may even have a lower-than-normal temperature.

“Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness.

“For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.”

A study published in the National Library of Health, the physiology of pneumonia was investigated.

It noted: “Pneumonia is responsible for an extremely large burden of disease across the earth, more than diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and many other diseases recognised as leading global health problems.

“Pneumonia is by far the most common cause of sepsis which has been defined by an international task force as organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated host response to infection that is severe enough to be life-threatening.

“Microbe-targeted approaches have proven useful for pneumonia. 

“Improved understanding of the physiology of the acute infection will lead to new approaches for limiting lung injury and the dissemination of infection, inflammation, and injury beyond the lung.”

Other signs of pneumonia include:

  • Coughing up mucus that may become yellow or green
  • A high temperature – you might also sweat and shiver
  • Difficulty breathing or getting out of breath quicker than normal
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Loss of appetite.

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