Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs. It is usually caused by a bacteria. It is a serious illness, especially in the elderly. The illness is characterized by a cough with sputum, fever and pain in the chest. The breathing rate is fast and is shallow. The precipitating causes are: following an attack of influenza, Bronchitis, Hospitalization, cigarette smoking, muses of alcohol and a weak immune system.
Investigations include a full blood count and chest X-ray. Treatment is with appropriate antiobiotics taken fro 7 to 10 days. Complications of pneumonia are lung abscess and inflammation of the covering of the lungs (pleurisy)
Prevention: All those eligible must take their annual vaccination against influenza. (Flu jabs). Elderly people should get pneumococcal vaccine as well. In winter keep yourself adequately warm and avoid contact with people suffering from influenza. Eat healthily and maintain a well-balanced diet. Avoid cigarette smoking and alcohol.