Pneumonia is inflammation (swelling) of tissue in one or both lungs. It is a condition which primarily affects the air sacs of lungs called as alveoli. It is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly other microorganisms, certain drugs. As per UNICEF study in 2010, there were about 3.97 lakhs under 5 children died of pneumonia in India.


Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in breathing such that breathing may be rapid and shallow
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Sweating and shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in chest Less common symptoms of pneumonia can include:
  • Blood during cough (haemoptysis)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing


Pneumonia is primarily due to infections caused by bacteria or viruses and less commonly by fungi and parasites.

Bacterial pnuemonia:
Bacteria are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), with Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated in nearly 50% of cases . Other commonly isolated bacteria include haemophilus influenzae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae .

Viral pnuemonia :
Various virus include rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, influenza virus and para influenza .

Fungal pnuemonia: It is most often caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, blastomyces,Cryptococcus neoformans, Pneumocystis jiroveci, and Coccidioides immitis.


Early diagnosis and treatment is  very important for invasive pneumococcal disease.

If disease, like meningitis or bloodstream infections, is suspected, samples of blood or cerebrospinal fluid are collected and sent to the laboratory for testing. It is important to know the cause and the severity of illness as the treatment will change depending on the cause. In the case of pneumococcal disease, antibiotics can help prevent severe illness.

If pneumococcus bacteria are present with invasive disease, they can be grown (cultured).

Physical examination may sometimes reveal low blood pressure, high heart rate or low oxygen saturation. The respiratory rate may be faster than normal and this may occur a day or two before other signs.


Rest Simple painkillers (analgesics) like ibuprufen

Antibiotics Fluids suffice for complete management. Antibiotics improve outcomes in those with bacterial pneumonia.


Complications associated with pneumonia are:

1) Pleurisy: Pneumonia can cause pleurisy, which is inflammation of the pleura, the two thin linings between your lungs and your ribcage.
2) Septicemia: Another serious complication of pneumonia is blood poisoning, also known as septicemia.


  • LAST UPDATED ON : Feb 04, 2016


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