Perspective

Ugly Pneumonia is not beautiful Pandemonia

Pandemonia is a character and persona created as conceptual art by an anonymous London-based artist that has appeared in the art and fashion world since 2009. Clad in a latex full-head mask with stylized hair and latex dresses, Pandemonia is seven feet tall and has been described as “Roy Lichtenstein’s blonde caricatures … brought to life as a 7 ft inflatable.

The scene

It started with repetitive cough and a disturbing chest pain associated with it. He recently had a good laugh at a football match in company of his friends, right there in their midst he experienced an emotional switch as tears came rolling down his face; evoked from the chest pain resulting from the laughter. Then came fever and shortness of breath to worsen an already bad situation. He gulped several bottles of cough syrup to no avail……………!

What it is

It is inflammation (swelling) of the lung tissue usually but not exclusively caused by infection from bacteria, virus, or fungus. Pneumonia causes the air sacs at the end of the airways in the lungs (alveoli) to fill with fluid and pus. Depending on the extent of affectation, pneumonia can be : lobular (a segment of a lobe is affected), lobar (an entire lobe is affected), bronchopneumonia (affects bronchi which are air passages), interstitial (inflammation affects the interstitial tissue, mainly the alveolar walls).

Causes

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Bacteria

Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults. Many types of bacteria can cause bacterial pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus bacteria are the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. If pneumonia is caused by one of the following types of bacteria, it is called atypical pneumonia ; 1. Legionella pneumophila. This type of pneumonia sometimes is called Legionnaire’s disease. 2. Mycoplasma pneumoniae. 3. Chlamydia pneumonia; This infection is most common in the elderly. Bacterial pneumonia can occur on its own or develop after a viral cold or the flu.

Viruses

Viruses that infect the respiratory tract may cause pneumonia. The influenza or flu virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in children younger than one year old. Other viruses (eg Coronavirus) can cause pneumonia. Infection with viral pneumonia, puts one at the risk of getting bacterial pneumonia.

Fungi

Pneumocystis pneumonia is a serious fungal infection caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii. It occurs in people who have weak immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or the long-term use of medicines that suppress their immune systems, such as those used to treat cancer or as part of organ or blood and marrow stem cell transplant procedures.

Risk Factors

Many factors such as age, smoking, and other medical conditions can increase your chances of getting pneumonia and having more severe pneumonia.

Age

Pneumonia can affect people of all ages but infants and the elderly are at greater risk of developing pneumonia and having more severe pneumonia because of reduced immunity.

Environment

The risk for pneumonia may increase if one is exposed to certain chemicals, pollutants, or toxic fumes.

Lifestyle habits

Smoking cigarettes, excessive use of alcohol, or being undernourished also increases the risk for pneumonia.

Other medical conditions

Other conditions and factors also increase the risk for pneumonia.

These are;

• Having trouble coughing because of a stroke or other condition, or have problems swallowing.

• Can’t move around much or are sedated.

• Recently had a cold or the flu.

• Have a lung disease or other serious disease including cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bronchiectasis, (permanent enlargement of parts of the airways of the lung) diabetes, heart failure, or sickle cell disease.

• Are in a hospital intensive-care unit, especially if one is on a ventilator to help breathing.

• Have a weak or suppressed immune system due to HIV/AIDS, organ transplant or blood and marrow stem cell transplant, chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer), or long-term steroid use.

How does the infection ensue?

Most of the time, the body filters bacteria out of the air that we breathe to protect the lungs from infection. The immune system, the shape of the nose and throat, the ability to cough, and fine, hair-like structures called cilia help stop the germs from reaching the lungs. Sometimes bacteria manage to enter the lungs and cause infections. This is more likely to occur if: the immune system is weak, a germ is very strong, the body fails to filter out the bacteria from the air inhaled( For example, if you can’t cough because you’ve had a stroke or are sedated, bacteria may remain in the airways) When bacteria reach the lungs, the immune system goes into action. It sends many kinds of cells to attack the bacteria. These cells cause swelling in alveoli (air sacs) and can cause these spaces to fill up with fluid and pus. This causes the symptoms of pneumonia.

What gives it away

High fever, fever/chills, cough with phlegm which doesn’t improve or worsens, shortness of breath with normal daily activities, chest pain associated with breathing or cough, feel suddenly worse after a cold or the flu.

The catch

Blood tests, Sputum tests and Chest xray among others

Treatment Most

cases of viral pneumonia are mild (not serious). They get better in about one to three weeks without treatment. Some cases are more serious and may require treatment in a hospital. However, Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics.

Negative outcomes

Lung abscess, Pleural effusion (fluid in the lungs), Septic shock, Kidney failure, Respiratory failure.

Prevention

Avoid risk factors than are avoidable. Vaccines are available to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria or the flu virus, or influenza. In addition, Hand washing helps.

 

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