What is it?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Most infections are due either to bacteria or to viruses. Pneumonia can also be caused by fungi, particularly in people whose immune systems aren’t working properly. Pneumonia can be a mild illness or it can be something much more serious. If you or someone you are caring for seems to be recovering well from a cold or the flu and then suddenly they get worse, it could be pneumonia. The illness can be life threatening, especially in babies, young children and the elderly, so it’s important to see a doctor right away.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly over 24 to 48 hours, or they may come on more slowly over several days.
Common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- a cough – which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
- difficulty breathing – your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting
- rapid heartbeat
- feeling generally unwell
- sweating and shivering
- loss of appetite
chest pain – which gets worse when breathing or coughing
Less common symptoms include:
coughing up blood (haemoptysis)
nausea or vomiting
joint and muscle pain
feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people
- Cayenne pepper is believed to help fight infectious pneumonia to some extent, because of its antimicrobial properties.
- According to some studies Bromelain may be helpful as it was found to provide relief in patients suffering from various lung disorders.
- Herbal preparations like barberry root bark and Oregon grape root or goldenseal are thought to help treatment of pneumonia because of the presence of berberine, which is a potent antibacterial agent.
- According to some natural health enthusiasts garlic can also offer some help with pneumonia because of allicin, which is a potent compound present in garlic. This is what gives garlic its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Whether or not these claims are valid, the fact is that garlic can help boost immunity.
- Herbal teas like garlic tea or ginger tea can also provide some relief from the symptoms.
- Avoid intake of sugar and any sugar rich foods, carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
Things to watch out for
GP can be contacted for a blood test if the condition doesn’t improve within 48 hrs. Seek urgent medical attention if you’re experiencing severe symptoms, such as rapid breathing, chest pain or confusion.