Would love to clear your mind on something that has been misunderstood over time.As it has become a usual occurence for most of us to barely differentiate between pneumonia and common cold.Some mistake common cold for pneumonia and vice versa.
Pneumonia,basically is an acute or chronic inflammation of the lungs caused by viruses,bacteria or other micro-organisms,or sometimes by physical or chemical irritants.Although,there are several types of pneumonia.
MISNOMERS ABOUT PNEUMONIA
In most parts of Africa and some other parts of the world,there are certain misconceptions people have concerning pneumonia.
-While Pneumonia is a disease caused by a pathogen(either bacterial or viral),it is different from common cold.
As the both are easily confused to be the same,and may manifest similar respiratory symptoms such as cough,catarrh and so on.Common cold is purely caused by viral infection, while pneumonia could be bacterial or viral.It will be vital to point out that although pneumonia is contagious,it’s not as contagious as common cold.
Another misnomer is the belief or theory that staying in a cold environment such as a fully air conditioned room,lying on the bare floor,not wearing enough warm clothing during cold seasons could result to pneumonia. While it may not fully be ruled out,it doesn’t pose a risk for pneumonia and can not be seen as the cause for pneumonia.
Pneumonia occurs when there is invasion of its causative pathogens into the respiratory tract of the human body.And factors that place one at a higher risk includes
1) Immunocompromised individuals: patients who have respiratory diseases such as COPD(Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cystic fibrosis, previous respiratory infection,etc.
2) Weakened Immune System; especially patients with HIV/AIDS,Tuberculosis, Diabetes mellitus.
3)Staying in Hospital environment for a long time: More emphasis will be laid on patients who spend a lot of time in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) as
– the position they are placed in gives room for fluid and mucus to settle in the lungs.
– the ventilators being used could expose them to a much higher risk of contacting pneumonia.
4) Extremity of Ages(Geriatric and paediatric patients): individuals who are above 65 and infants who are below two are at a much higher risk of contacting the diseases.
– Cough with mucus
– Chest Pain
– Loss of appetite
One way to differentiate between pneumonia and common cold is that symptoms of pneumonia lasts longer than that of common cold.
Try to see the doctor if you suspect pneumonia for treatment.