Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) tends to affect both adults and children. It impacts millions of people globally and is mainly caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. CAP is acquired outside healthcare facilities and has an adverse effect on the lungs. It is advisable to take preventive measures and consult a doctor if symptoms persist. In case of infection, learning how to manage the condition will highly assist in recovery. The disease remains to be a significant cause of mortality and morbidity and it leads to inflaming of the lungs, which makes them function abnormally. The risk of acquiring the disease can be increased by smoking, surgery or trauma, weak immunity system, and lung disease. Standard advisable preventive measures include washing hands often, cleaning surfaces, avoiding people with colds, and taking vaccines that might prevent the disease. Some of the management measures include resting, taking deep breaths, and also consuming liquids as advised.
CAP is a common acute infection and is mainly caused by pathogens. The primary pathogen that causes the disease is streptococcus pneumonia, responsible for up to 50 percent of infections (Wunderink, 2018). Most patients do not present any microbial triggers even after thorough testing. The microorganisms that cause CAP to get to the lungs through inhalation of droplets from the coughing or sneezing of an infected person. The bacteria might also get into the lungs through environmental or microaspiration, mainly after colonization of the nasopharynx. Other causes of CAP include influenza A, which is a virus, and mycoplasma and Chlamydophila pneumonia bacteria. In case a patient does not present any microorganism triggers, it could be as a result of untrue negative tests or unknown pathogens, but the exact causal pathogen is unknown despite this, more research needs to be done (Wunderink, 2018).
Usually, lungs have immune mechanisms that prevent CAP, but it entirely depends on mucociliary clearance, which should be effective at all times. The alveoli contain macrophages that easily recognize pathogens invading (Wunderink, 2018). If the mechanisms are not functioning well, microorganisms get into the lungs triggering an inflammatory response that causes an influx. More research is needed to discover the leading causes of the disease and how the preventive body mechanisms work.
- Streptococcus Pneumoniae- it is a spherical bacteria and a member of streptococcus which are found in pairs and are nonmotile.
- Mycoplasma- it is a bacteria with no cell wall and this makes them resistant to antibiotics.
- Chlamydophila – are intercellular bacteria that may be life-threatening.
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptoms and signs of CAP include:
- Shaking severely
- Shortness of breath (Drugs.com, 2021).
- Suffering from unusual heartbeat and breathing
- Loss of appetite and fatigue (Drugs.com, 2021).
- Back pains and chest pain especially when breathing or coughing
- Not thinking rationally which is common in old people
- A cough that brings greenish or yellowish mucus (Drugs.com, 2021).
Chills and fever
Some people might experience all the symptoms while others might not. People are advised to seek medical attention in case they experience more than one of the symptoms.
There are also several procedures that a patient will undergo in case of admission to the hospital. In the case of a CT scan, a contrast liquid might be administered to show the lungs clearly in the picture.
Bronchoscopy is done by inserting a thin tube that contains light in the mouth and is moved in the windpipe to the trachea. Some medicine might be administered to numb the throat for easier penetration
- Bronchoscopy- insertion of a tube down the throat to the airway to check the lungs’ condition.
- CT scan- it is a common procedure that involves internal scanning as the name suggests. The picture acquired from the scan is used to determine what the patient is suffering from.
Management and treatment options
In case the pneumonia is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will be offered. If the disease is viral, antiviral medications will be given (Drugs.com, 2021). Avoiding smoking or being around people who smoke is one way of managing the disease (Drugs.com, 2021). Another way of controlling the infection is breathing in warm air, which assists in loosening the mucus (Drugs.com, 2021). Drinking many fluids as directed is another measure that will make mucus thinner and easier to get out of the nose. Resting will also assist especially during the healing period. Mucus is loosened by gently tapping the chest, making it easier to cough (Drugs.com, 2021). The treatment method of the CAP will entirely depend on the germ that is causing the disease and the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Avoiding smoking is one of the major management remedies since chemicals in cigarettes may lead to lung damage, making the infection severe. To breathe in warm air, people suffering from the disease should place a warm and wet cloth over their noses, to help loosen mucus. Some patient might need medicine that dilates their bronchial tubes, while others might need oxygen, in case the oxygen levels in their blood is lower than it is supposed to be. In case the disease is severe, admitting the patient is recommended. One should lie with their head lower than their chest several times a day while tapping the chest. Managing the disease will ensure that one heals quickly.
Drugs.com. (2021). Community acquired pneumonia – what you need to know. Drugs.com.
Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Pneumonia | Cleveland clinic. Cleveland clinic.
Wunderink, R. G. (2018). Guidelines to manage community-acquired pneumonia. Clinics in chest medicine, 39(4), 723–731.