What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, mainly caused by bacteria and viruses. Pneumonia should be distinguished from bronchitis, which is an infection of the bronchi. Bronchitis can lead to a pneumonia.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are almost identical to bronchitis, namely cough, Fever and sometimes chest pain with coughing. Only a doctor is able to distinguish between pneumonia and bronchitis, relying on his/her clinical examination and a possible chest x-ray.
What are the complications?
Pneumonia caused by viruses heals without therapy most of the time. Bacterial pneumonia are dangerous. If bacterial pneumonia is not overcome by the immune system, it can lead to death if untreated. Especially children, older people and persons with chronic conditions and underlying immune system defects are at highest risk of complications.
What is the therapy?
The therapy is treatment with antibiotics. The doctor chooses the right antibiotic therapy based on clinical examination and a chest x-ray. If the treatment is taken at home, special attention has to be given if the symptoms do not improve after three to four days or the condition of the patient worsens. At that point, the patient has to be admitted to the hospital.