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Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a disease that causes swelling and congestion in the lower airways and air sacs of the lung.  Many people refer to this as a lower respiratory tract infection.

What Causes Pneumonia?

While there are more than 30 different causes for this disease, most cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria, viruses, or mycoplasms.  Other factors that can lead to pneumonia are inhaled foriegn objects or vomit, toxic fumes or gases, dust, and fungal infections.

Types of Pneumonia

Pneumonia causes a build up of pus and sticky mucous in the small airways and alveoli (air sacs) of the lung.  If a complete segment of the lung is effected, it is called lobar pneumonia.  If there are scattered patches of pneumonia in the lung, it is called bronchopneumonia or bronchial pneumonia.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Common symptoms of pneumonia include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, and shortness of breath.

Treatment for Pneumonia

Most pneumonias are treated with antibiotics.  Other medications may be aimed at treating symptoms of the disease (such as fever reducers, pain relievers, and bronchodilators).  For more serious infections of pneumonia, admission to the hospital will be needed and sometimes mechanical ventilation will be required.