Know More About Pneumonia: The Lung Disease

Pneumonia is swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs, usually caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The condition is common in infants and people above 65 years who have a weak immune system.

Pneumonia can be life-threatening depending on your age and overall health.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

The symptoms can develop suddenly, or they may develop more slowly over several days.

Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Cough with or without mucus
  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Feeling confused and disorientated
  • Wheezing
  • Joint and Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite

Pneumonia can be life-threatening for people with heart failure or chronic lung problems.

Risk Factors for Pneumonia

The following groups are at higher risk of developing pneumonia:

  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • Exposure to pollution and toxic fumes
  • People who consume alcohol
  • People who have ongoing medical conditions (Brain or lung disorders)
  • People who smoke cigarettes

Diagnosis of Pneumonia

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history and perform a physical examination (listening to your lungs for abnormal sounds)

Tests include,

  • Blood tests- To confirm and identify the organism causing the infection
  • Chest X-ray – To determine the location and extent of the infection
  • Pulse oximetry- To measure oxygen levels in your blood
  • Sputum test- To analyze the cause of the infection
  • CT scan- To obtain a detailed picture of your lungs
  • Bronchoscopy- To investigate the airways in your lungs

Treatment for Pneumonia

Treatment for pneumonia depends on the risk factors and the severity of the condition. This is a significant cause of hospitalization and mortality in this population.

Mild cases can be treated by:

  • Adequate rest
  • Antibiotics (if bacteria cause pneumonia)
  • Hydration (3-4 liters of water per day)

In severe cases,

  • IV line to give antibiotics and fluids
  • Oxygen therapy to increase your blood’s oxygen
  • Ventilator in more severe cases

Prompt medical attention is important for improving the outlook of pneumonia in older adults.

Tips to Prevent Pneumonia

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect the surfaces
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Promptly dispose of used tissues.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle to strengthen your immune system (balanced diet, exercise, and enough rest)
  • Quit smoking as it makes you susceptible to respiratory infections, especially pneumonia
  • Taking good care of medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)

Vaccination for Pneumonia

Doctors recommend two vaccines for elderly people (above 65 years)

  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13)

The CDC recommends that all adults aged 65 get the PPSV223 shot.

Consult your doctor immediately to lower your risk of pneumonia with vaccines.

Complications of Pneumonia

There are several complications from pneumonia. These are more common in older adults and can include:

  • Fever and productive cough that is not improving or is worsening
  • Fluid accumulation in and around the lungs
  • Shortness of breath during normal daily activities
  • Lung abscess
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Sepsis
  • Death

Do’s And Don’ts to Treat Pneumonia


  • Do take medicines on time as advised
  • Do Keep yourself hydrated
  • Do Take regular meals


  • Do not panic
  • Do not self-medicate
  • Do not ignore the danger signs

Foods to Avoid in Pneumonia:

  • Avoid cold drinks and foods since they lead to increased mucus production
  • Limit salt-intake
  • Avoid saturated fats and trans fats as they alter immunity levels
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and tobacco products

5 Best Foods for Pneumonia

  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Carrot juice
  • Fatty fish
  • Garlic

Pneumonia can be life-threatening for people over 65 years and have a higher risk of hospitalized death rates.