The number of winter diseases seen began to increase along with the cool weather. However, special attention should be paid to pneumonia, which ranks first among these diseases. Pneumonia, known as a winter disease, is a feverish disease which is more severe in patients with chronic illness and may result in death from time to time.
Pneumonia takes the first place among the deaths related to infectious diseases in the world. Here are the ways to avoid pneumonia seen more often in children, in elderly aged 65 and over, in patients with a chronic disease (such as kidney or heart disease, diabetes,) in smokers, in the users of a medication that suppresses the immune system.
Heavy flu cases pave the way for pneumonia
Liv Hospital Chest Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Ferah Ece, who said that the flu which is frequently seen in the winter season and heavy in nature paves the way for pneumonia, explains the things that awake our curiosity about pneumonia: “Beginning to onset as an inflammation of the lung lobe, seen light in nature in patients without any other accompanying disease, but can be seen heavy in nature in patients with a chronic disease and may result in death from time to time, pneumonia is a feverish disease. In this disease, as the air sacs in the lungs are filled with pus, the function of the lungs, which is providing oxygen, is impaired and therefore the oxygen level in the blood decreases. Inflammation is caused by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria or fungi.”
The bacteria may become air-borne and spread while the patient is talking
“The bacteria causing pneumonia are transmitted from person to person by close contact. The transmission of the disease to healthy people occurs through direct inhalation of droplets spreading in the air during coughing, sneezing or speaking of sick people. Crowded places, indoor environments, schools, military camps and dormitories, where people live in mass, are places where pneumonia is more likely to infect. Alcohol, drugs, smoking and bad living conditions are among the factors preparing the ground for a heavy flu. The severe influenza disease paves the way for pneumonia, and pneumonia occurs during the course of the diseases that make the body extremely weak.”
Watch for fever, chills, and shivering
“Symptoms of pneumonia vary according to the type of the causative microorganism. Bacterial pneumonia usually begins with fever, chills and shivering and they progressively increase. The cough is initially dry. However, later it is accompanied by the phlegm. Side pain may be caused by irritation of the lung membranes and coughing and breathing may increase the pain. Depending on the extent of the disease, patients may experience shortness of breath and dark spots on the hands, feet, and lips. General complaints such as fatigue, loss of appetite and weariness often accompany the disease.”
Prevent loss of bodily fluids; intake plenty of vitamins
Liv Hospital Chest Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Ferah Ece explains what patients should pay attention to in the treatment of pneumonia: “In the treatment, the use antibiotics, if necessary antiviral drugs, use of fever reducers, oxygen intake, water intake to meet the extent of bodily fluid loss, bed rest, a diet rich in vitamins and calories should be followed. Tests are carried out to determine the bacteria that cause pneumonia, but this is often not possible. Antibiotic therapy should be started as soon as possible after the diagnosis of pneumonia; the patient’s age and chronic diseases, and severity of pneumonia should be taken into consideration, and empirical antibiotic treatment should be started by a physician. The antibiotic used in the treatment of pneumonia should definitely be used under the approval and control of a physician.”
Healing may take from one week to 21 days
“The duration of treatment may vary depending on the initial severity of the disease, the bacteria that caused the disease, the presence of a concomitant disease, and the individual response of the patient. Generally, it is recommended to continue the use of antibiotics for 5-7 days following the fever’s going down. However, it may be necessary to extend the treatment period to 10-14 days and sometimes up to 21 days in cases of pneumonia due to some particular germ species. One or two weeks after the beginning of the treatment, the physician examines the patient and performs the necessary tests. Sometimes it may be necessary to extend the treatment period or perform additional examinations. In very severe pneumonia cases, patients should be admitted to a hospital when respiratory distress develops. Even in intensive care, respiratory support may be needed.”
Avoid pneumonia by having a strong body
Liv Hospital Chest Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Ferah Ece explains the ways of protection against pneumonia: “The most important thing to do for protection against pneumonia is to increase the body’s strength. When the immune system is weak, the risk of pneumonia, especially the flu, increases. Therefore, smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided; following a healthy and balanced diet and getting regular sleep are necessary. Appropriate follow-up visits and treatment of chronic diseases, avoiding stress, giving importance to hygiene mean reducing risk factors. Attention should be paid to good ventilation in crowded places such as public transport, movie theaters, and theaters. Using a medical mask is the best method of protection against the viruses become air-borne due to coughing and sneezing of influenza patients because influenza is an air-borne disease. In order to avoid influenza infections during the winter months, influenza vaccination should be received because the flu can turn into pneumonia or pave the way for the disease. When bacterial pneumonia is added to the flu, even fatal symptoms may occur.”
Who can get pneumonia vaccine?
“In addition to the flu vaccine, a pneumonia vaccine may also be required. There are two types of pneumonia vaccines. One vaccine is administered every five years. The other vaccine, which has been developed in recent years, provides life-long protection with a single dose. However, despite the pneumonia vaccine, there may still be cases of the disease, but these people do not experience severe pneumonia. A pneumonia vaccine is recommended for people who have a normal immune system but have heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, alcohol problems, cirrhosis, some blood diseases, chronic kidney disease, organ transplantation, or those with AIDS or over 65 years of age.”