Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection affecting the lungs caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Each year in the UK, 8 in every 1000 adults develop pneumonia (around 220,000 people per year) and approximately 29,000 people die.

Symptoms

Common symptoms are a persistent cough, fever, breathlessness, feeling generally unwell, no appetite, sweating/shivering and chest pains which worsen when breathing or coughing.

How do you catch Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is most commonly transmitted by air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze, but can also be spread through person to person contact.

Incubation period

This depends on the cause, but tends to be 1-7 days approx.

Diagnosis

The condition is diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, listening to the chest, X-Rays, and blood tests.

Prevention

Good standards of hygiene can reduce the chance of spreading the disease. These include covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, preferably with a tissue which can then be disposed of, and regular hand-washing. Two licensed pneumococcal vaccines are currently available.

Treatment

Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, rest, and an increased fluid intake. Hospitalisation is normally required for more serious cases.