Doctors look at a radiography of lungs. AFP file photo.
Pneumonia is a lung inflammation that can occur in chronically ill elderly people and young children below the age of five.
Here are ten things that you need to know about pneumonia and how to treat it.
1. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air spaces in the lungs.
2. Pneumonia may be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Streptococcus pneumoniae, a type of bacteria, is the most common cause of pneumonia. And the most common cause of viral pneumonia is the influenza virus.
3. Pneumonia can be fatal in severe cases.
4. Signs and symptoms of the infection are similar to a cold - sneezing, coughing, a sort throat and shortness of breath. A high fever, chest pains and chills follow.
5. The following factors increase the risk of developing pneumonia:
- a weakened immune system due to disease
- chronic disease such as sickle cell anemia, heart disease or diabetes
- being in the intensive-care unit of a hospital, especially if on ventilator support
6. A chest x-ray can detect pneumonia but not