What is viral pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection which is caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. It causes inflammation of the lungs.
Viral pneumonia is a complication of different viruses that cause common colds and the flu. Viral pneumonia accounts for around one-third of cases that show symptoms of pneumonia. The virus attacks your lungs and starts inflammation of the lungs, delaying your flow of oxygen.
Several cases of viral pneumonia solve on their own within one or two weeks. But, severe cases of viral pneumonia can be dangerous for health. CDC (Centers for Disease Control) rated pneumonia along with the flu among the top causes of death in 2014.
Causes of viral pneumonia
Pneumonia virus moves through the air in many ways. Touching a dirty surface, sneezing, and coughing are common means for the pneumonia virus to spread.
Some viruses can result in viral pneumonia, containing:
- Adenoviruses belongs to the family adenoviral. It can cause bronchitis and the common cold.
- Chickenpox also called Varicella zoster virus
- Flu also called influenza viruses)
- RSV stands for Respiratory syncytial virus, can create cold-like symptoms in individuals of all ages; however, it causes severe effects in young children.
- Coronavirus that causes pneumonia-like symptoms.
All these viruses can be transferred in healthcare settings, group of people, and clinics.
Signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia
The signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia are frequently similar to the symptoms caused by bacterial pneumonia; however, depending upon the cause, there are a few other symptoms.
Mostly, viral pneumonia happens as a complication of several viral infections that create symptoms like common cold and flu. In some cases, viral pneumonia can be deadly.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia take place when our lungs develop inflammation as they try to resist viral infection. Due to the inflammation, it becomes easy for the virus to block the gaseous exchange and oxygen flow in our lungs.
Initial symptoms of viral pneumonia are similar to flu symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Cough containing yellow or green color mucus
- Shivering or chills
- The blueness of the lips
Viral a swell as bacterial pneumonia contains similar symptoms however, someone having viral pneumonia can grow extra symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscular pain
- Worsening cough
Viral pneumonia can also be found in every age group. Young children having viral pneumonia have a tendency to develop mild symptoms that slowly become worse. A kid having viral pneumonia can develop clear wheezing, and his skin & lips often become bluish because of the lack of oxygen. Such children also lose their hunger.
In contrast, adults more than 65 years of age can experience common cold, dizziness, and confusion. Some individuals having viral pneumonia can also develop a sore throat and a headache, based on the original cause of infection.
Viral pneumonia can develop rapidly into a more severe condition, mainly if you are living in a group with the high-risk, for example, people having a weak immune system.
Who is at risk of getting viral pneumonia?
Everybody has several risks of getting viral pneumonia, as it spreads through the air and transmissible. You may contain a higher risk of catching viral pneumonia if you:
- are working or living in a hospital or healthcare setting
- are 65 years of age or older
- are two years or younger
- are pregnant
A person with the disturbed or weekend immune system because of the HIV/AIDS, immunosuppressant medicines, or chemotherapy, can get some risks for viral pneumonia and its complications.
Other risk factors include:
- With a chronic disease, for example, an immune-mediated disease, heart problem, asthma, or severe respiratory infection
- Cancer or some other conditions that are being cured with chemotherapy
- New viral infection
- Smoking which disturbs your defense system of the body against pneumonia
When to see a doctor?
Viral pneumonia can be a serious problem for individuals living in high-risk community. See your doctor before you get signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia. Go to the hospital as soon as possible if you get flu-like symptoms together with:
- fast breathing
- a decrease in blood pressure
- difficulty in breathing
- a persistent fever of 102.0˚F or over
- chest pain
Diagnosis of viral pneumonia
Only a medical doctor can diagnose viral pneumonia. Your doctor can ask about your therapeutic history and do a physical examination. First of all, a doctor will listen to the following abnormal sounds from your lungs when you inhale:
- reduced airflow
- cracking in the lungs
- wheezing while breathing
- increase in heart rate
Usually, your doctor will perform some extra tests if he is worried about the abnormal sounds that your lungs are creating. These tests are:
- Chest X-ray
- mucus culture to evaluate secretions from the lungs
- nasal swab to check for different viruses for example, the influenza virus
- CBC also known as (complete blood count) to monitor any inflammatory change
- arterial blood gas test
- CT scan also called (computed tomography) for the chest area
- blood culture
- bronchoscopy test, which is frequently required for diagnosing pneumonia caused by a virus; however, this test allows your doctor to see your lungs directly.
Difference between bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. We can classify pneumonia depending upon its cause. The causes of pneumonia comprise:
- fungal infections
Pneumonia caused by fungi is less common than bacterial and viral pneumonia. Some bacterial species like Streptococcus pneumonia can result in bacterial pneumonia. Streptococcal pneumonia is generally more severe than viral pneumonia.
The symptoms caused by bacterial pneumonia are:
- high fever
- shivering, or rigors
- rapid breathing
- shortness of breath
- a cough having blood or mucus
- lack of energy
Viral pneumonia may contain some of the symptoms like bacterial pneumonia; however, the symptoms are less severe. Bacterial pneumonia needs antibiotics for treatment. On the other hand, viral pneumonia does not need antibiotics for treatment unless it results in a secondary bacterial infection.
Treatment for viral pneumonia
There are two ways to treat viral pneumonia. These are:
- Home care
Most of the people can be cured by home care from viral pneumonia. The objective of treatment for viral pneumonia is to eliminate the symptoms.
Consult with a doctor before using a cough suppressant drug, as coughing will help you to get recovery. Kids will follow the standard treatment regularly throughout their recovery; however, it is always good to check with a doctor for treatment plan for your kid.
- Medical treatment
Based on the category of infection you develop, your doctor may recommend antiviral medicine to decrease viral activity. Your doctor may prescribe one if your condition is diagnosed early. It is essential to know that antibiotics cannot treat viral pneumonia, as a virus, causes it not bacteria.
Adults and persons having chronic health disorders stay in the hospital for additional care. Antiviral treatment is given to adults, which can help them in recovery.
Prevention of viral pneumonia
People should clean their hands to decrease the risks of getting an infection. To avoid animal transmission, CDC representatives urge persons to wash their hands after touching animals and carefully cook any meat before eating.
Throughout the cold and flu season, an individual can follow steps to stay healthy. Such actions can protect you against viral pneumonia.
Some ways that people can use to prevent infection include:
- washing hands regularly by using warm water and soap
- getting an influenza shot
- avoiding contact with your nose or mouth
- getting sufficient sleep
- sanitizing surfaces
- staying hydrated
- eating vegetables & fresh fruit
- keeping yourself away from persons who are coughing and sneezing
How long does viral pneumonia last?
The recovery period depends on how strong you were before you were detected with viral pneumonia. A young adult having good health will get faster recovery than other older adults. Maximum people get recovery in a few weeks. Adults may take some weeks to get recovery from viral pneumonia.
The best technique to avoid pneumonia is to use cleanliness, get the regular flu vaccine each year, and try to prevent people around you who are infected with a cold or the flu.
Is pneumonia contagious?
When one individual spreads microorganisms that can transmit pneumonia to another person, the recipient can grow a variety of respiratory infections, starting from minor cold signs to pneumonia.
Maximum cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria as well as viruses. Bacteria can react to antibiotics, but viruses cannot be cured with antibiotics. Both viruses, as well as bacteria, are contagious.
Usually, pneumonia develops after an individual has had an infection, for example, a head cold. This makes an individual more susceptible to different types of infections.
Some germs have more tendency to create pneumonia than others. For example, pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can result in ear infections, infections of the brain, blood infections, sinus infections, and pneumonia.
Mycoplasma pneumonia can also cause different forms of pneumonia. This bacterium is also contagious.
The flu virus is a prevalent cause of viral pneumonia. This virus spreads from one person to another, causing a variety of symptoms.
Non-contagious forms of pneumonia are:
- inhaling food particles from the digestive tract
- some fungi
What is a human coronavirus, and how was it spread in China?
An outbreak of human coronavirus that started in Wuhan, one of the most famous city in central China. It has killed a minimum of 132 people and infected above 6,000.
What is coronavirus?
According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause a variety of illnesses, starting from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). SARS started in China and infected more than 6,000 people during this outbreak. At least 132 people died by this virus after it spread to different countries across the world.
How was coronavirus spread in Wuhan?
Coronavirus has spread to humans from animals at a seafood market of Wuhan in central China. A lot of cases have diagnosed in Wuhan. Many cases have been confirmed in various countries like U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Australia, and several Asian countries, containing Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Nepal, and Vietnam.
Symptoms of coronavirus
Coronavirus creates pneumonia-like symptoms. The novel coronavirus symptoms are:
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- runny nose
Diagnosis of human coronavirus
Your doctor may recommend laboratory tests for respiratory specimens and serum to discover human coronaviruses. Laboratory tests are more likely to be approved if you have severe illness or are doubted of MERS.
Treatment of coronavirus
There is no specific treatment for diseases caused by coronaviruses. Some people infected with human coronavirus will get a recovery on their own. But, you can follow some things to decrease your symptoms. These actions are:
- take pain & fever medicines (do not provide Aspirin to children)
- use a humidifier room or take a hot bath to ease cough and sore throat
If you are slightly sick, you should follow these steps:
- drink a lot of liquids
- stay at home and take rest
- If you are worried about your symptoms, then you should contact your doctor.
How to protect your health from coronavirus which just spread in China?
Currently, there are no vaccines available to defend your health against the infection of human coronavirus. You can reduce your risk of getting an infection by following these steps:
- wash your hands by using soap and water
- do not touch your mouth with dirty hands
- avoid close interaction with infected people
How to protect others from coronavirus?
If you feel cold-like signs, you can protect others by following these actions:
- stay home when you are sick
- avoid close interaction with others who are sick
- cover your mouth with a tissue while you are coughing or sneezing, after that throw this tissue in the dustbin and then wash your hands
- disinfect objects as well as surfaces