How Common is Pneumonia?

What is Pneumonia?

With the changing seasons, many of us focus on preventing the common cold and seasonal flu. However, we often forget one condition that spikes during the cooler months: pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a severe lung infection caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The condition causes the air sacs in your lungs to fill with fluid or pus, making breathing difficult. Pneumonia can range from mild to severe, so it is vital to learn your risks and the common symptoms of this condition.

Who is at Risk for Pneumonia?

Anyone can get pneumonia, but some people are at higher risk than others. Seniors are more likely to get pneumonia because their immune systems are not as strong as they used to be. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects the lungs and breathing passages and is the leading cause of pneumonia in young children. Other people at high risk for pneumonia include smokers, people with chronic lung disease, and people with weakened immune systems.

While cases of pneumonia do tend to spike during the fall in relation to flu season, it's important to remember that this disease can strike at any time. So if you're feeling under the weather, don't hesitate to get checked out by a medical professional.

Pneumonia Symptoms

The symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the cause of the infection. However, common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Fever

Severe Complications of Pneumonia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 10 people who get sick with pneumonia will die from the infection. Pneumonia can lead to the following severe complications:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Sepsis
  • Death

Early diagnosis and treatment are important for a full recovery. It's important for patients to see their doctor if they think they may have pneumonia so they can get early treatment and avoid these serious complications.

Pneumonia Treatment in Ridgecrest, CA

Pneumonia can be a serious lung infection, but it is important to remember that it can be treated. If you or someone you know is at high risk for pneumonia, talk to your doctor about how to prevent the disease.

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital is dedicated to keeping your family happy and healthy — while providing exceptional medical care when needed. For more questions on our primary care services, contact us today: (760) 446-3551.