Viral pneumonia like it’s cousin, bacterial pneumonia is a very serious illness. Any illness that causes the lungs to not be able to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide is a very serious illness. Because pneumonia causes the lungs to produce mucous, it is difficult for the oxygen and carbon dioxide to get through all of that mucous to exchange gases in the blood. People will often downplay pneumonia by saying, “oh I have a ‘walking pneumonia’.” I reply to that with the statistics of the American Lung Association. Pneumonia is the third largest killer of adults, so please do not down play pneumonia by saying it is just a “walking pneumonia”.
What is Viral Pneumonia?
– It is an inflammation or infection of the lungs.
– Viral pneumonia can be caused by influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and the herpes or varicella viruses, including those that cause the common cold (parainfluenza and adenoviruses)
What are the symptoms of Viral Pneumonia?
Viral Pneumonia symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:
– Mucous production. Coughing up mucous. At the beginning the mucous should be clear or white, however, as more infections take up residence in the mucous, it will change color. Then your viral pneumonia has probably gone from viral to bacterial pneumonia
– Aches and Pains
– Low Grade Fever
– Tiredness. When the body is fighting off an infection, it begins to work very hard to get better. That cause the body to become tired. In elderly people or people who have compromised immune systems, sometimes fighting the pneumonia becomes too much and they need additional help in fighting off the pneumonia. Oxygen or even life support has been used to give support to a person who is already compromised.
When should one seek medical help for Viral Pneumonia?
– A person who is experiencing shortness of breath, vomiting, coughing up blood and chest pain should immediately seek medical treatment. If a person is experiences shortness of breath, this can be considered a medical emergency and a person should go to the hospital immediately.
What are the tests and treatments for Viral Pneumonia?
– The doctor will order blood tests and xrays. This will determine what kind of pneumonia a person has and where it is located in the lungs.
– The best treatment for Viral Pneumonia is rest, rest and more rest. That and supportive treatment for the symptoms. If a person is experiencing a lot of coughing, cough medicine is appropriate supportive treatment.
Remember pneumonia is nothing to brush off as an every day cold. It needs to be taken seriously. Prevention is the best way to take care of it. However, that is not always realistic as pneumonia can be spread by contact or by droplet. It is as simple as a person who is coughing or sneezing in your space. Get the flu shot and the pneumonia shot if you are a person who is in a category of high risk for pneumonia.
Take care of your lungs, because as the American Lung Association says, “when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters…”