Pneumonia is an infection of the lung that is triggered by a virus, bacterium, parasite or fungus. When pneumonia affects both the lungs, it is a case of double pneumonia. The air sacs in your lungs called alveoli swell up and fluids accumulate in them. This limits your oxygen intake and as a result, less oxygen is infused in your blood. In turn, your whole body starts experiencing oxygen deprivation and you might face acute breathing problems.
The intensity and danger level of pneumonia depend on how many segments of the lobes of your lungs have fallen prey to the infection. So, how dangerous is double pneumonia? Double pneumonia infects many of the segments, which is why it can be quite life-threatening unless the right measures are adopted.
How does double pneumonia spread?
The viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites that can cause double pneumonia can be spread from an infected person through-
- Touching any object handled or used by the infected person
- Infrequent hand washing or touching nose, mouth and eyes or eating food with unwashed hands
But just because you are exposed to the same microbes that gave double pneumonia to a person does not mean that you too would develop this illness. All you could contract is a harmless cough and cold.
What are the symptoms of double pneumonia?
Double pneumonia gives rise to the same set of symptoms as pneumonia. It is a misconception that the symptoms of double pneumonia will be more intense or painful. However, the intensity has a lot to do with the stage of the infection, the person’s age and state of health.
Here is a brief overview of some common signs of double pneumonia-
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Difficulty in breathing
- Coughing up phlegm
- Rapid breathing
- Quickened heart rate or pulse
- High fever accompanied by chills and sweating
- Extreme fatigue
- Feeling nausea that may culminate in vomiting
People older than 65 years may display a few other symptoms such as-
- Disorientation or confusion
- Body temperature may drop
- Changes in thinking and comprehension capabilities
Since the symptoms of double pneumonia are almost the same as those you may experience from the flu, how would you know that it is pneumonia and not simply the flu? If the symptoms last for more than 3 days and are extremely severe, then it’s time to go to the doctor and you may require immediate hospitalization. Speedy treatment is of utmost importance.
Is double pneumonia contagious?
Not all forms of double pneumonia are contagious. Double pneumonia caused by viruses is extremely contagious and viruses can survive on inanimate objects for long which increases the likelihood of others developing an infection by coming in contact with such objects.
Bacterial double pneumonia too can be transmitted easily from person to person but it is less contagious than viral double pneumonia.
However, a fungus caused double pneumonia is not contagious at all. It cannot pass from one person to another. The fungus lives in the environment and enters a person’s body directly.
Are you vulnerable to double pneumonia?
There are a few risk factors of pneumonia and if you have a likelihood of contracting pneumonia, it could proceed to both the lungs in no time. If you fall within this bracket of vulnerabilities or know anyone who does, then exert caution-
- All children under the age of 2
- People over the age of 65
- Women who are pregnant
- Anyone who has developed a chronic illness such as diabetes
- Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, Addison’s Disease that attack healthy cells
- HIV/AIDS that pulverizes a person’s immunity
- A stint in the hospital
- People who smoke because tobacco particles weaken the immune system
- Contracting a lung disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
- People with heart diseases
- Inordinate drinking and substance abuse
The first line of treatment consists of aspirins, NSAIDs and paracetamols. You may also be given medicines to ease fits of coughing, sore throat and the other symptoms of double pneumonia.
If double pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection, you will need antibiotics.
If pneumonia causes other infections such as sepsis or pleural effusion, the most effective mode of treatment is administering intravenous antimicrobial medicines.
A virus caused double pneumonia can be battled by antiviral drugs.
Prevention of double pneumonia
Double pneumonia can be fatal and that is why it is best to follow a few precautionary measures-
- If you have been diagnosed with any chronic illness like diabetes or heart failure, be sure to take your medicines to keep it under control.
- Give up smoking or drugs. Drink in moderation, if at all.
- Maintain personal hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly. Use a hand sanitizer.
- Make sure you have been administered the pneumonia vaccine.
- Avoid people who look sick.
If you want to know which foods can prevent double pneumonia, consult a doctor on MediBuddy.
Double pneumonia is dangerous. Be on your guard always and talk to a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms that have been stated above.