This guest post was written by Elisha of My Health Maven. She is deeply passionate about educating people and empowering them to lead healthier lives. We encourage you to check out her blog and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a type of lower respiratory infection that can cause inflammation in one or both lungs. This is a contagious and serious illness. There are many forms of pneumonia that are caused by bacteria or viruses as well as less common causes such as fungi or parasites. The alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs can fill with fluid or pus that cause flu like symptoms that last for weeks and don’t respond to OTC (over the counter) medicines.
According to UNICEF “Pneumonia remains the leading infectious cause of death among children under five, killing 2,500 children a day. Pneumonia accounted for 15 per cent of all under-five deaths and killed 920,000 children in 2015. Most of its victims were less than 2 years old”.
No one is immune to pneumonia, but some people are more susceptible than others. Young children and individuals over 65 can be at higher risk due to immature and weakened immune systems. In addition, smokers, people with asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis or cancer are also susceptible.
This illness can be spread through coughing, sneezing, sharing food etc. Individuals who live in close contact with others, including nursing homes, college students or siblings that share a bedroom are also more likely to get sick.
Signs & symptoms of pneumonia
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Symptoms can vary from one person to another. The severity of this illness can depend on many factors including overall health, age, lifestyle factors such as diet, as well as what type of pneumonia you have. Many times the symptoms are similar to that of the cold or flu, but last significantly longer.
Symptoms also vary between viral and bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia can result in higher temperatures, rapid breathing, sweating and higher pulse rates. In addition your lips can have a bluish tinge due to lack of oxygen.
Viral pneumonia can have symptoms closer to the flu, such as muscle aches and pains, mild fever, dry cough, weakness, and headaches. Again, the symptoms persist and are not improved with time, rest and OTC medications.
To recap, some of the more common signs of pneumonia include:
- Cough (without or with yellow or green mucus)
- Fever, chills
- Nausea, vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Shaking, sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Stabbing chest pain with each deep breath or cough
Pneumonia is nothing to take lightly. If you suspect this illness, see your doctor as soon as possible to confirm your suspicions. Treatment will vary based upon the type of pneumonia you have. Bacterial pneumonia patients are usually given antibiotics and in some cases, may require IV’s, chest x-rays or hospitalization.
Individuals with mycoplasma pneumonia are also given antibiotics, and may also be given anti-inflammatory medication or corticosteroids.
Always be sure to discuss potential side effects and risk with any medications you are considering.
While most people will have to deal with pneumonia symptoms for two to three weeks as they recover, there are many natural options that can help you to feel better faster. They include basics such as adequate rest, hydration, healthy diet, supplements, treating fever as needed, as well as general management of symptoms.
Here are some natural options to discuss with your doctor/healthcare practitioner:
- Astragalus-Strengthens the immune system and relieves lung inflammation.
- Coltsfoot-Soothes irritated throat and relieves lung inflammation.
- Echinacea-Boost immune system, fights infection, reduces mucus in lungs.
- Elecampane-Relieves lung congestion caused by mucous.
- Fenugreek Seeds-Reduces mucous in lungs, promotes sweating.
- Goldenseal– Strengthens the immune system, clears up mucus and congestion.
- Garlic-Kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Allicin in garlic is both antibacterial and antiviral.
- Holy Basil –Known as Tulsi. Potent anti-bacterial.
- Mullein-Has expectorant properties that loosen phlegm and thin mucus.
- Oregano Oil-Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-viral. Helps thin mucous.
- Potassium Broth-Nourishing and healing broth.
- Sesame Seeds-Reduces phlegm and lung congestion.
- Turmeric-Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and relieves lung congestion.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. He is right, a little effort to prevent illness is a lot easier than all of the energy and effort it will take to recover. Consider some basic precautions if you’re around anyone who is sick.
If you are around people with pneumonia, consider wearing a quality charcoal mask.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Get adequate rest.
- Stay well hydrated with water and healthy vegetable juices.
- Avoid soda, sugar and junk food.
- Improve gut health by adding probiotics, with supplements or probiotic foods.
- Boost your immune system with supplements, herbs, and foods such as astragalus, echinacea, garlic, turmeric, ginger, licorice, vitamin C, goldenseal tulsi and mushrooms.
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