Csuc Logo

World Pneumonia Day -12th November 2020


Pneumonia, what is it?
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Bacterial pneumonia is the most common type in adults. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs, which are called alveoli. The alveoli fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia may be caused by bacteria or viruses. The bacteria and viruses that causes pneumonia are usually inhaled. These microorganisms settle in the alveoli and multiply after they are inhaled. The body sends white blood cells to attack the infection. This is why the air sacs become inflamed. The bacteria and viruses fill the lung sacs with fluid and pus, causing pneumonia.


What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

The symptoms of pneumonia can be mild or life threatening. The most common symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Coughing that may produce phlegm(nucus).
  • Fever, sweating and chills.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain at chest.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • General body weakness.



What are the types of Pneumonias?

Pneumonia is classified in types either by the location it occurred or by the type of causative organism.

By Location:

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) as the name implies, develops outside of the hospital or health-care environment. It is more common than hospital-acquired pneumonia.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) 

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is nosocomial. HAP is generally more serious because it occurs secondary to an already existing health condition. Being on a ventilator for respiratory support increases the risk of acquiring HAP. Health-care-associated pneumonia is acquired from other health-care settings, like kidney dialysis centers, outpatient clinics, or nursing homes.

By Causative Organism:

Bacterial pneumonia: 

Bacterial Pneumonia is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Chlamydophila pneumonia and Legionella pneumophila can also cause bacterial pneumonia.


Viral pneumonia: 

Respiratory viruses are often the cause of pneumonia, especially in young children and older people. Viral pneumonia is usually not serious and lasts for a shorter time than bacterial pneumonia.

Mycoplasma pneumonia: Mycoplasma organisms are not viruses or bacteria, but they have traits common to both. Mycoplasmas generally cause mild cases of pneumonia, most often in older children and young adults.

Fungal pneumonia: Fungi from soil or bird droppings can cause pneumonia in people who inhale large amounts of the organisms. They can also cause pneumonia in people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems.


Which people are at risk of getting Pneumonia?

  • Persons under 5 years or over 65years
  • Persons who smoke tobacco, consume large amounts of alcohol.
  • People who have underlying conditions such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma, or conditions that affect the kidneys, heart, or liver.
  • People who have weakened or impaired immune system due to conditions such: AIDS, HIV, or cancer
  • People who have recently recovered from a cold or influenza infection.
  • People who are malnourished.
  • Have been recently hospitalized in an intensive care unit
  • People who may have been exposed to certain airborne chemicals or pollutants.



Diagnosis and test

Typically, it can be diagnosed with the physical exam and the chest X-ray. But depending on the severity of the symptoms and the risk of complications, the doctor may also order one or more of these tests:

  • A blood test:This test can confirm an infection, but it may not be able to identify what’s causing it.
  • A sputum test:This test can provide a sample from the lungs that may identify the cause of the infection.
  • Pulse oximetry:An oxygen sensor placed on one of the fingers can indicate whether the lungs are moving enough oxygen through the bloodstream.
  • A urine test:This test can identify the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila.
  • A CT scan:This test provides a clearer and more detailed picture of the lungs.
  • A fluid sample:If the doctor suspects there is fluid in the pleural space of the chest, they may take fluid using a needle placed between the ribs. This test can help identify the cause of the infection.
  • A bronchoscopy:This test looks into the airways in the lungs. It does this using a camera on the end of a flexible tube that’s gently guided down the throat and into the lungs.


What are the preventive measures for Pneumonia?

  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol intake.










Gideon Asante,


Scroll to Top