The flu is very common at this time of year, but if you start showing signs and symptoms of something more serious, it is important to be able to identify your illness. While people generally recover from the flu quickly, it can turn into pneumonia, which causes more deaths globally than any other infectious disease. Knowing the signs and symptoms of pneumonia can help you get the treatment you need to get well quickly.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that causes illness ranging from mild to severe. Even though it can be dangerous, it is largely preventable and treatable. You can reduce your risk of contracting pneumonia by practicing good hygiene, and getting vaccines to protect yourself from bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia.
The symptoms pneumonia presents with include coughing, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, chills, and chest pain. In the United States, the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia is pneumococcus, and the most common viral causes are influenza and respiratory viruses. Data from the American Lung Association indicates that viruses are the cause of half of all cases of pneumonia. Adults over age sixty-five, children under age five, and people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes or HIV are at higher risk of pneumonia, as are people who smoke cigarettes or have asthma. People infected with the bacteria or viruses can transmit the illnesses, even if they do not have symptoms of illness.
In fact, seventy percent of us have pneumonia-causing bacteria in our throats at this moment! If you have a healthy immune system, your body will fight off the bacteria, but it your immune system is compromised, the pneumonia will reach your lungs and make you sick. Getting the flu shot is a good way to protect yourself from pneumonia, as is a healthy lifestyle. If you do get sick, make sure to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and seek medical attention if you do not improve within a reasonable period. In addition, there is now a vaccine that can kill the pneumonia-causing bacteria. If you have a child under twenty-three months of age, discuss this vaccine with your pediatrician.
If you are suffering from cold or flu symptoms that do not seem to be improving, you may need to seek medical treatment. When that time comes, consider First Choice as an alternative to a traditional ER. A freestanding clinic, First Choice offers adult and pediatric care from qualified doctors and nurses. Visit the website to learn more, of connect with the online community on Facebook and Twitter.