Pneumonia is a lung condition that is caused due to germ or bacterial infection in the lungs. Not many people know that there are several types of pneumonia. Doctors have classified pneumonia as per the cause of the condition(virus, bacteria or fungi). Knowing which type of pneumonia a person has can help in getting the right treatment and also fasten the recovery. This article talks about the various kinds of pneumonia, their triggers and common signs explained by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar MBBS, MD with expertise in Pulmonology.
1. Hospital-acquired pneumonia
If you recently visited a hospital either for diagnosis or for paying a long visit to someone admitted there and got pneumonia thereafter, you may have hospital-acquired pneumonia. This could be serious as there are zillion kinds of bacteria and most of them are resistant to antibiotics which make recovery difficult.
In Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar's words, "Hospital-acquired pneumonia is another type of pneumonia in which the patient is not having any pneumonia on a chest x-ray at the time of hospital admission. Still, during the stay in the hospital, the patient develops pneumonia within 48-72 hours. Pseudomonas bacteria commonly cause it, and this kind of pneumonia is difficult to treat. Mortality is high in this kind of pneumonia."
- You are unable to cough properly to clear your lungs
- You are having breathing issues
- You are functioning on a breathing machine
- You are breathing with the help of a tracheostomy or trach tube
- You have weak immunity
2. Community-acquired pneumonia
This type of pneumonia is highly likely to have caused due to viruses, bacteria and fungi. A person usually gets this pneumonia outside a hospital or long-term medical care. This condition can be prevented with flu vaccines that kill certain pneumonia-causing bacteria and viruses. This type also includes aspiration pneumonia which is primarily caused due to breathing fluid or food into the lungs.
- Difficulty in coughing
- The problem in swallowing food or fluid
If you cough up what you took into the lungs, the chances of multiplication of troublesome bacteria reduce thereby reducing the risk of aspiration pneumonia.
3. Bacterial Pneumonia
Most cases of community-acquired pneumonia in adults are triggered by bacteria. This is more of a contagious condition that you may get if someone infected with pneumonia sneezes or coughs and those bacterial droplets get into your body through your mouth or nose. People with weaker immunity are most likely to get infected with this condition. According To Dr. Kaushal, In this kind of pneumonia single lobe of lung involves more, which is known as lobar pneumonia. Sputum culture and sensitivity should be done to identify the causative bacteria. The treatment is antibiotics, which is according to the sensitivity report.
- High body temperature (Over 100.4 F)
- Mucus along with cough
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Chest pain
4. Walking pneumonia
It is also referred to as ‘atypical pneumonia’ which is a less severe pneumonia type with only mild symptoms. The name ‘walking’ pneumonia comes as a person with this pneumonia condition is able to perform all the daily activities.
The common symptoms of walking pneumonia are:
- Sudden chills
This condition can be easily treated with antibiotics and you may recover within 3 to 5 days only.
5. Viral Pneumonia
The second most common trigger of pneumonia is a virus. These cause flu and cold which are the primary signs of pneumonia. Dr. Bhavsar explains, When pneumonia caused by viruses like Influenza, Coronavirus, RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), it is known as viral pneumonia. They are mostly bilateral lower lobe pneumonia. Usually, a throat swab for PCR used to identify the virus. The treatment is primarily supportive, along with antiviral drugs such as Oseltamivir in the case of Influenza. The most common signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia are:
- Sudden chills
- Stuffy nose
- High fever
- Dry cough with mucus
- Acute muscle pain
A person with this condition is advised to drink maximum fluids to ease the condition by loosening the mucus inside the lungs. People who have existing breathing problems shall require proper treatment.
6. Fungal Pneumonia
This less-common pneumonia form is highly likely to be caused in people with weaker immunity. People who recently underwent chemotherapy, organ transplant, HIV or an autoimmune disease are at greater risk.
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