Posted March 10, 2017
Every year, millions of Americans are diagnosed with pneumonia. Can it be caused by a cold or the flu? Yes. Medical professionals also report that a respiratory virus is the cause for about 33 percent of cases.
Pneumonia is described as inflammation of the lungs. Often bacteria from a cold or the flu will settle in the lungs, create an infection and produce pneumonia. Typical symptoms can include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of appetitive
- Headaches and confusion
- Spitting up thick mucus or blood when coughing
- Breathing difficulty
- Chills and high fever
- Sweating and clammy skin
- Painful breathing or coughing
- Nausea and diarrhea
Many of these symptoms are like those experienced with a cold or the flu. However, a good rule of thumb is to consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a week, are more intense, or if breathing and coughing become painful.
Most people diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia have mild symptoms that easily are treated with antibiotics designed to kill the infection. However, if pneumonia isn’t caught at an early stage, it can be life-threatening, especially for children, seniors or adults diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. People with chronic pneumonia sometimes are hospitalized so they can receive specialized care.
Consider three ways to reduce the risk of pneumonia:
- Flu vaccine – Getting a flu shot provides protection against contracting the flu, as well as the most common strains of bacterial pneumonia.
- Hygiene – When coughing or sneezing, doctors recommend covering your mouth or using a tissue to capture the germs to avoid spreading it to others. Then wash your hands and dispose of the tissue.
- No smoking – People who use tobacco are at greater risk for developing pneumonia. Tobacco can scar the lungs and damage tissue designed to fight germs.