How to Avoid and Treat Pneumonia
Have you ever had pneumonia? If so, you probably remember all too well the symptoms - coughing, fever, chills and problems breathing. So how can you avoid this nasty illness? And if you do happen to come down with pneumonia, what can you do to make it go away – as quickly as possible? Keep reading for the answers to those very questions . . .
I’m very familiar with pneumonia – not because I’ve suffered it myself (knock on wood) but because my husband comes down with it every single year. It’s become so predictable that he doesn’t even have to visit the doctor – he just calls the clinic and they phone in his prescription. It’s kind of like his version of the “death and taxes” certainty – he always knows pneumonia is coming.
I’m joking around a bit here, but pneumonia is nothing to mess with. In 2003 pneumonia was ranked with influenza (the flu) as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. That’s no joke!
What exactly is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an illness that occurs when the lining of the lungs becomes inflamed due to infection by bacteria, a virus, or fungus, such as those that exist in mold, and exposure to chemicals. Symptoms (mentioned above) mimic those of the flu. In severe cases of pneumonia, intense chest pains can develop and a greenish or brown mucus can be coughed up.
When the lungs become infected, the air sacs fill with pus and other liquids, making it hard for the blood to get the oxygen it needs and pass it along to the cells for proper functioning.
Who is at risk?
The people who are most likely to come down with pneumonia are children ages 2 and younger, men and women over the age of 65, and individuals with pre-existing health problems and compromised immune systems.
Pneumonia treatments vary depending on the cause. If bacteria is the cause, your health care professional can give you antibiotics to clear it up. If a virus is responsible, it may just need to run its course, but rest and plenty of liquids may alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery.
Of course, the best pneumonia treatment is never to get it in the first place. Try these techniques to keep yourself pneumonia-free:
Get plenty of exercise. Stress can make you more vulnerable to pneumonia, so seek out physical activities that help you relieve stress. Find something that works for your schedule and abilities, but consider alternative forms of exercise, such as yoga, martial arts and Pilates.
Sweat out impurities. A good session in a sauna will help remove toxins from the body. Cayenne pepper can produce a similar effect.
Take a eucalyptus supplement. This plant oil soothes irritated bronchial tubes and stops the spread of bacteria in the membranes.
While pneumonia cannot always be prevented, you can build up your resistance and avoid the threat of an attack by taking good care of yourself and making healthy choices. And remember – pneumonia can strike all-year round, not just in the winter months, so it’s important to be vigilant all 12 months of the year. I'm going to make sure my husband follows these tips so that hopefully he will avoid it this year!