A CASE STUDY ON PNEUMONIA
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A Case Study on Pneumonia
Across the globe, Pneumonia is one of the potentially fatal infections that affect both the individual and the health systems. Pneumonia is an inflammation that mostly affects the bronchioles and alveoli of the lungs. It is caused by an infectious agent (bacteria or viruses) that can be spread through airborne respiratory droplets such as coughs or sneezes. The infectious agent may include bacteria, viruses or fungi. As a result, the inflammation causes the air sac, or alveoli of the lungs to be filled with fluid or pus. The infection is often characterized by a sharp pain in the chest, high fever, difficulties in breathing, rapid breathing, and a cough that might be accompanied by thick phlegm. Regarding the level of severity, Pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening. However, it is fatal among newborns, and young children, individuals older than the age of 65, and individuals with medical issues or deteriorated immune systems.
Pneumonia is spread by a variety of germs which include viruses, bacteria, fungi, and also parasites. However, the main causes of pneumonia are bacteria and viruses. After inhaling the germs, they can settle in the alveoli inside the lungs and later multiply. In view of this, Pneumonia can be contagious since the germs that cause the disease are usually inhaled. Ones the bacteria or virus attack the lungs, the body reacts by sending white platelets to fight the infection (DeGiacomi, et al 2018, P. 734). Further, the bacteria or viruses will cause the inflammation of the lungs air sacs. The pathogens will then fill up the air sacs with fluid or pus which subsequently results in the pneumonia infection.
Pneumonia is categorised based on the types of infectious agent that cause it and where an individual contacted the infection. Arguably, pneumonia is usually associated with the pneumococcal infection, which is caused by bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumococcal infection is an infection that is caused and spread by a bacterium known as Streptococcus pneumoniae, sometimes referred to as the pneumococcus. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a known affiliate of the bacterial flora inhabiting the nose and throat of approximately 5–10% of healthy adults and 20–40% of healthy children (DiBardino and Wunderink 2015, p. 41). This kind of pneumonia can occur on its own or after one has had a cold or a bad flu. It attacks one side (lobe) of the lungs, causing a condition referred to as lobar pneumonia. However, there are several other different kinds of bacteria that can cause pneumonia which includes Haemophilus influenza and Staphylococcus aureus (Joseph, 2018; p. 670)
Besides bacterial pneumonia, other types of pneumonia are common among patients. They include viral pneumonia which is normally caused by the respiratory syncytial infection (RSV) and occasionally types A or B influenza. This type of pneumonia mostly affects the young children. The second type is aspiration pneumonia which is caused by breathing in vomit, a foreign object, for example, peanut or harmful substances such as contaminated chemicals or smoke (“Pneumonia symptoms, causes and risk factors”, 2016; n.p). The third type is known as fungal pneumonia. Different kinds of fungi are responsible for this type of pneumonia such as Cryptococcus, Histoplasma, and Coccidioides. Despite that it is rare; individuals with weak immune systems are likely to be infected with this type of infection.
Lastly, hospital-acquired pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that mostly develops in health centers such as hospitals. This occurs while being treated for another illness or probably having an operation. Patients who have been admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU) and are on breathing machines are mostly at risk of contracting ventilator-associated pneumonia (Joseph 2018, p. 670).
Occasionally, pneumonia can be hard to diagnose since the symptoms vary from one person to another, and are frequently similar to those experienced in a cold or influenza. The illness also shares many signs and symptoms with other illnesses, for instance, asthma and bronchitis. Hence, for a doctor to diagnose pneumonia, and make an effort to identify the germ that is causing the infection, the doctor will inquire about the patient’s medical history, complete a physical analysis, and run a few tests (Amanda et al, 2019; p. 440)