What Is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of lungs and can happen in one or both lungs. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi, though the most common is bacterial pneumonia (especially in adults). Children under the age of 5 are more prone to viral pneumonia.
Pneumonia causes inflammation in alveoli, the air sacs in the lungs. The alveoli (or air sacs) fill with pus or fluid, thus making it difficult to breathe.
Pneumonia in itself is not contagious, but the germs that cause pneumonia can be transferred from one person to another through the air or environment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia?
Common symptoms of pneumonia are:
- A cough, cold, fever
- Chills, breathing problems, shortness of breath
- Increased mucous, discolored mucus
- Loss of appetite
What Are The Causes Of Pneumonia?
There are more than 30 causes of pneumonia. The most common ones are:
- Airborne irritants
These germs overpower the immune system after entering the lungs and invade nearby delicate lung tissues. Children going to school, patients admitted to hospital are more at risk of getting pneumonia as the presence of germs is more at such places because of more probability of sick patients being there.
Some types of pneumonia, like Legionnaires' disease, are contagious only in certain environments. It is caused by a bacterium called Legionella pneumophila, and it may only occur to those people who are exposed to a contaminated air conditioning system. It can also happen due to inhaling droplets from fountains, whirlpools, or spas.
Everybody is equally exposed to germs, but the probability of developing pneumonia depends on one’s health, age, and lifestyle.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Pneumonia?
- Get your child vaccinated against pneumonia, chickenpox, and flu. Flu can lead to pneumonia.
- People above 65 years of age should be given at least 2 shots of pneumonia vaccine as they are more susceptible to catching the disease.
- Wash your hands with soap frequently to avoid infections.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Pneumonia?
- Avoid smoking as smokers are more likely to get infections.
- Avoid going close to people who have a cold, pneumonia or other respiratory tract infections.
- Don’t exert yourself too much as it can lead to slow recovery.
What Are The Best Foods For Pneumonia?
Breathing difficulty and cough makes your metabolism accelerate and burn more energy. On the other hand, any disease will reduce your appetite, leading to less intake of food and ultimately causing malnutrition. Hence, it is important to have a healthy diet. Take small quantity, but increase the number of servings.
Some of the important nutrients required to fight against the disease and maintain health after the recovery from pneumonia are as below:
- Proteins: in order to recover fast and rebuild your tissues, it is important to have enough proteins in your food. Hence go for cheese, soy, cereals, beans, poultry, red meat, fish or pork.
- Potassium: potassium helps in rebuilding damaged lung tissues. Spinach, baked potatoes, dried apricots, avocado, acorn squash, pomegranate, sweet potato, and coconut water are rich sources of potassium.
- Vitamin C: It helps in accelerating the healing process. Fresh carrot juice, guavas, oranges, papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwifruit, broccoli, snow peas, tomatoes, and kale are all good sources of vitamin C.
- Antimicrobial foods: Antimicrobial foods are natural antibiotics that help in fighting various types of infections. While ginger tops the list in this category, cabbage, honey, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, grape seeds extract and fermented foods are other goods sources of natural antibiotics.
What Are The Worst Foods For Pneumonia?
- Avoid strong tea, coffee, and other stimulating beverages.
- Alcoholic beverages
- White flour and products made from wheat-flour are difficult to digest, hence should be avoided.
- White sugar, fried foods, pizzas etc. should also be avoided as they increase bloating in the stomach and make breathing more difficult.
- Dairy products, especially curd increase the production of mucus. Hence they should be avoided temporarily, till you recover fully from pneumonia.
- Avoid excessive salt as salt can make the body retain water. Excess water in the body can lead to breathing problems.
What Are The Medicines For Pneumonia?
What Are The Tips To Manage Pneumonia?
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, and more if possible.