World Pneumonia Day: Know the link between Covid-19 and pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection that makes it difficult to breathe because the air sacs in one or both lungs are inflamed and may fill with pus and fluid. Additionally, it is one of Covid-19’s most prevalent and serious consequences. Covid-19 is a sickness brought on by SARS-CoV-2. Let’s understand the connection between Covid-19 and pneumonia!

But first, let us know about pneumonia on World Pneumonia Day.

Health Shots spoke to Dr Pritha Nayyar, Consultant – Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Asian Hospital, Faridabad, to know about the condition.

Symptoms of pneumonia

Pneumonia symptoms can vary from mild to severe, depending on what’s causing the illness and how healthy you are in general. They can include high-grade fever up to 105 F with chills, greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus while coughing, loss of appetite, fatigue, profuse sweating, rapid breathing, bluish lips and fingernails, sharp pain in the chest especially when you cough or take a deep breath and confusion (in older people).

What are the causes of pneumonia?

1. Bacteria

Streptococcus pneumonia commonly causes bacterial pneumonia. This type of pneumonia can either occur on its own or after you suffer from a cold or flu.

Covid-19 and pneumonia
Talk to your doctor about how you can take care of your lungs with Covid. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Cold and flu

Virus responsible for causing colds and flu can cause pneumonia. Virus are commonly responsible for pneumonia in children below 5 years. While viral pneumonia is usually mild, it can turn severe in some cases. Covid-19 can cause pneumonia which may become serious.

3. Weak immunity

Pneumonia caused by fungi is common in people with chronic health problems or weak immune systems and in those who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. Fungi causing pneumonia can be found in bird droppings or in soil depending upon geographic location.

Also read: Cough is tough: Do’s and don’ts to treat pneumonia at home

4. Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Mycoplasma pneumoniae are bacteria-like organisms that also cause pneumonia. However, it has milder symptoms compared to other types of pneumonia.

Is pneumonia fatal with Covid-19?

Most people who are affected by Covid-19 have mild to moderate symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. But some of those affected by Covid-19 can get severe pneumonia in both lungs, which can be life-threatening because it causes inflammation in the tiny air sacs presents inside one’s lungs. So yes, pneumonia caused by Covid-19 is a serious illness and can be fatal.

Covid-19 and pneumonia
If you’re battling pneumonia, keep these tips in mind. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What increases your risk of getting pneumonia with Covid-19?

If you are severely ill with coronavirus, have poor lung function, and are receiving oxygen support, you could develop covid-induced pneumonia. Your lungs may become damaged by the coronavirus, resulting in lung clotting and thickening of the air sac walls. These symptoms have the potential to result in pneumonia and breathing issues. As a result, it may affect adults over the age of 65 who have asthma or an underlying lung condition as well as other concomitant conditions including diabetes or heart disease. Anyone who smokes or has a weakened immune system can develop Covid-19 pneumonia.

How to treat pneumonia?

Treatment for pneumonia involves depending on the type, severity of your pneumonia, your age, and your overall health. The options include:

1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. Depending on the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia, your doctor will prescribe the best antibiotic treatment. If your symptoms do not improve with time, a different antibiotic may be recommended.

Also read: Here are 5 yoga asanas that can soothe discomfort caused by pneumonia

2. Cough treatment: Cough medicine may be given to soothe your cough and allow you to rest.

3. Painkillers: Pain relievers /fever reducers/ may be recommended as needed to relieve pain and reduce fever. These include drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen among others.

If you have pneumonia, avoid doing the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid using any tobacco or nicotine-containing products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. Consult your healthcare provider if you need assistance stopping.
Covid-19 and pneumonia
Protect your lungs from the side effects of smoking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

If you have pneumonia, consume these foods:

Consume a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

General guidelines for treating pneumonia:

  • Get plenty of rest and at least eight hours of sleep per night.
  • During the night, lie partially upright. Sleep on a recliner or place a few pillows beneath your head.
  • As directed by your healthcare provider, resume your regular activities. Find out what activities are risk-free for you by asking your healthcare professional.
  • Drink enough liquid to keep your urine pale yellow. The mucus in your lungs becomes thinner as a result.
  • Gargle with a saltwater solution three to four times per day, or as needed, if your throat is sore. Completely dissolve 1–2 teaspoons of salt in 1 cup of warm water to make a saltwater mixture.

Apart from these tips, keep all follow-up visits as told by your healthcare provider!

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