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Pneumonia – Symptoms, causes and other risk factors

This is a kind of lung infection which can make you feel very sick. When you have pneumonia, then you can have fever, hard time breathing and cough. In the most cases this kind of disease can be treated at home. In the most cases it needs to past two to three weeks to be cleared up. People who suffer from other diseases, babies and older adults can become very ill when they get this disease. In some cases they need to stay in hospital. You can get this disease when you go on work or at school. This situation is known as community – associated pneumonia. Also if you are in a nursing home or in hospital, then you can get this disease. This kind of situation is known as healthcare – associated pneumonia. [1] This is severe type of pneumonia because you are already sick. Bacteria or viruses which are called germs are the reason why we have pneumonia. When you breathe these germs into your lungs, then this is the beginning of this disease. People who had cold or flu are having increased chances of getting this disease. These diseases are a reason why your lungs cannot find against infection so you can get pneumonia very easily. People who have diabetes, cancer, heart disease or asthma (that are chronic or long – term diseases) are also having increased chances of getting pneumonia. [2]

Symptoms of pneumonia

When this is caused by bacteria, then its symptoms are coming very quickly. Here are these symptoms [2]:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling very tired or very week
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in
  • Shaking and “teeth – chattering” chills
  • Fast breathing and feeling short of breath
  • Fever
  • You will likely cough up mucus (sputum) from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.

The walking pneumonia is a term that your doctor uses when you have mild symptoms of pneumonia. Older adults can have different symptoms. Some of them can have fewer symptoms while others can have milder symptoms. Some of them maybe will not have a fever. Also there are other cases when they have a cough which is not bringing up the mucus. One of the most common signs that older adults have pneumonia is the way how well they think. Delirium or confusion is a very common situation in older adults. [3,4] Also if this group of people has a lung disease, then this disease can get worse. The symptoms of this disease which are caused by viruses are the same symptoms which are caused by bacteria. But these kinds of symptoms come very slow and often they are not so bad or obvious.Pneumonia

Causes for pneumonia

Bacteria, viruses or in a rare cases the fungus or other types of organisms can lead to this disease. Some specific organisms such as virus or bacteria cannot be identified in the most cases even when your doctor is testing you. When some organism in your body is identified, then this usually is the bacteria which are known as Streptococcus pneumonia.  Also there are different types of bacteria which can cause this disease. This is known as walking pneumonia and in some cases is a mild type and this type is caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Also there are some viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza A (which is also known as flu virus) is the types of viruses that can lead to this disease. The fungi that are known as Pneumocystis jiroveci also can lead to this disease in people who have impaired immune systems [5]. If your doctor thinks that the Pneumocystis jiroveci is a reason for this disease, then your doctor may suggest you to make HIV test. You can get this disease when you breathe the infected air particles in your lungs. Also when you breathe some kinds of bacteria from your throat and nose get into your lungs, then you can get pneumonia. This kind of situation can happen when you are sleeping. If you had influenza or cold which are upper respiratory tract infections, then you can also get this disease. Also if you had some kind of viral illness such as chickenpox or measles, then you can also get pneumonia.


[1] Carusone SC, Loeb M, Lohfeld L. Pneumonia care and the nursing home: a qualitative descriptive study of resident and family member perspectives. BMC Geriatrics. 2006.

[2] American Lung Association. Pneumonia symptoms and diagnosis. Retrieved from

[3] Faverio P, Aliberti S, Bellelli G, et al. The management of community-acquired pneumonia in the elderly. European Journal of Internal Medicine. 2014;25(4):312–9.

[4] Delirium in Pneumonia. JAMA. 1891;XVII(20):776. Retrieved from

[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumocystis pneumonia. Retrieved from

Dr. Emil Sarsath (aka) Vijila, a licensed naturopathic doctor (BSMS) who always ensures his patients receive compassionate, and individualized care. He has extensive experience in primary care, digestive health, mental health, nervous system disorder and more.Area of Expertise – Naturopathic Medicine, Whole Foods-based Nutrition, Siddha, Panchakarma.She is always available through [email protected]


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