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Pneumonia: What is It?

Doctor holding and checking up lung’s x-ray film

For much of human history, pneumonia has been one of the worst illnesses around. In earlier centuries, pneumonia was responsible for bringing down entire villages or decimating families. These days, medicine is far more advanced and pneumonia treatments are easier to access. But it’s still important to take several steps to stop the infection from progressing before it gets too harsh.

Not sure how to deal with pneumonia or what pneumonia even is? This guide will break down everything you need to know about this respiratory infection in detail.

Pneumonia in a Nutshell

Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to become inflamed. Over time, the air sacs fill with pus or fluid, which may cause the victim of pneumonia to cough excessively, to experience difficulty breathing, or to even get a fever.

Technically, there are three different types of pneumonia: bacterial, viral, and fungal. That’s because pneumonia can be caused by a few different originating vectors.

Regardless of its source, pneumonia can be either mild or potentially life-threatening. The longer it develops, the more danger a victim is in. Therefore, if you or someone you know has pneumonia, you should seek treatment immediately.

Individuals who are over the age of 65, infants and young children, and people with health problems already are particularly susceptible to severe pneumonia and additional complications.

Causes of Pneumonia

As mentioned, pneumonia can be caused by three different threats. These include:

  • Bacteria or bacteria-like organisms. In most cases, bacterial pneumonia is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, although mycoplasma pneumoniae can also lead to bacteria. Bacterial pneumonia can occur by itself or may occur after you have had a cold or the flu, as these conditions cause a dip in your immune system’s strength.
  • Viral pneumonia is the most common cause of this condition, but it is also the mildest form (though it can still sometimes be serious if it isn’t taken care of).
  • Fungal organisms. Fungal pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or if their immune systems are already weak. The fungus that causes pneumonia is found in bird droppings or soil and may be more or less likely depending on your location.

Additionally, another common cause of pneumonia can be catching it during a hospital stay for another illness or even in an intensive care unit.  There are various types of pneumonia’s people get such as ventilator-associated pneumonia, community-acquired pneumonia, and aspiration pneumonia,  

Several different types of bacteria can cause pneumonia, including Legionella pneumophila; this pneumonia is often called Legionnaires’ disease. 

You’re at a higher chance of getting pneumonia if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart disease. Furthermore, smoking damages your body’s natural defenses against the viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia. 

Either way, pneumonia can be difficult to get rid of once it has taken hold in your lungs. That’s why you need to get medical help or practice a few smart wellness strategies to take care of the infection.

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

No matter which type of pneumonia you may contract, you can expect symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Mucus buildup or coughing mucus
  • Sweating and/or chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Constant feelings of fatigue or tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite, fatigue
  • Chest pain

The severity of your symptoms will depend on how far the pneumonia infection has progressed. Furthermore, pneumonia can cause complications like lung abscesses, congestive heart failure, and worsened pre-existing health conditions. In the worst cases, the bacteria from pneumonia can lead to sepsis by spreading into your bloodstream.

If you are already at risk for heart attack, pneumonia may increase your risk of experiencing a heart attack in the near future. 

Treatments for Pneumonia

All in all, pneumonia is no joke. It’s vital that you take steps to treat this condition as soon as possible. With that in mind, let’s break down some treatments for pneumonia you can pursue today. No matter which type of pneumonia you have, taking omega fatty acids and turmeric through supplements can do a lot to alleviate pain and discomfort. 

Bacterial Pneumonia Treatments

In many cases, doctors will recommend antibiotics to treat bacterial pneumonia. At first glance, this seems to make sense. 

However, antibiotics can be harmful to the helpful bacteria or probiotics in your gut microbiome. Therefore, antibiotics may not be the best treatment to pursue if you have bacterial pneumonia.

Natural Antibiotic Treatments

An alternative strategy is to use natural antibiotic treatments. These include herbs and similar entities that have natural antibiotic properties, such as:

  • Oregano oil
  • Silver serum 
  • Clove
  • Garlic

Many of these natural remedies can be added to essential oil diffusers and inhaled. Or they can be consumed in tea. The steam will help eliminate the bacteria in your lungs and make you feel better overall.

Viral Pneumonia Remedies

Viral pneumonia can be treated using different strategies. After all, antibiotics are not effective at treating viruses since these cells are not types of bacteria.

Get Plenty of Rest and Stay Hydrated

For starters, be sure that you get plenty of rest and stay hydrated throughout the day. Sleeping enough will ensure your immune system has the strength to fight off the infection; staying hydrated will do the same thing.

Furthermore, it’s important to drink more water since you’ll be coughing more regularly with pneumonia, expelling additional bodily fluid. Dehydration is more likely with pneumonia because of this symptom.

Avoid Foods and Environments that Cause Mucus

It’s also a good idea to avoid any sugary foods and drinks or places that may cause excessive mucus production. These include anything that makes your nose stuffy. For example, if you have dust allergies, try to stay out of dusty attics while waiting for your pneumonia to get better.

Drink Herbal Teas

As with treating bacterial pneumonia, be sure to drink plenty of herbal teas to stay hydrated and to give your body a boost. Some of the best these include pure or raw honey and either ginger, peppermint, or eucalyptus leaves. All of these ingredients can break up mucus and help you breathe a little easier.

Fungal Pneumonia

If you have fungal pneumonia, you can use some similar methods to treat the symptoms while you wait for your immune system to defeat the infection.


All in all, pneumonia can be uncomfortable to live with and very difficult to defeat. But with the right care and some helpful herbs on your side, you’ll tackle pneumonia and get back to your life in no time. 


Top 20 Pneumonia Facts—2019 | Thoracic.org

Next Page: Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis Lung.org

Streptococcus pneumoniae: For Clinicians | CDC

Antioxidant, Antimicrobial and Antiviral Properties of Herbal Materials | NCBI

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