What causes pneumonia and how it can be prevented

In 2009 World Health Organization launched World Pneumonia Day to raise awareness of pneumonia and its impact on society, to promote pneumonia prevention and treatment worldwide. Since then World Pneumonia Day is annually held on November 12.

Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites. It is characterized primarily by inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs. Regularly pneumonia begins with an upper respiratory infection (an infection of the nose and throat) also known as the common cold. If the symptoms are ignored, the infection is getting worse.

Pneumonia signs and symptoms may include:

- Fever (which may be mild or high);

- Shaking chills;

- Cough;

- Chest pain (the pain that gets worse when you breathe and can be relieved if you sit on the affected side);

- Weakness and fatigue;

- Rapid shallow breathing;

- Nausea and vomiting;

The most common infectious agents that cause pneumonia are influenza, respiratory virus, adenovirus and parainfluenza virus. If left untreated, pneumonia can be dangerous and have serious complications. It can even cause death. If you present any pneumonia symptoms it is better to show up to a doctor as sooner as possible.

Those who suffers more often from pneumonia are children, old people, those with weakened immune system, and those who were diagnosed with chronic diseases (heart, respiratory, kidney, liver diseases; diabetes).

To prevent pneumonia you should: 

- Be aware of your general health;

- Practice a healthy lifestyle (adopt a healthy diet rich in vitamins and protein, avoid stress, get enough sleep, exercise and be mindful of your personal hygiene);

- Prevent and treat respiratory infections;

- Avoid smoking and alcohol;

- Get Vaccinated;

Atypical pneumonia may not always cause fever and other regular symptoms. If you doubt that your illness is not just a simple cold you should better go to the doctor