Pneumonia is inflammation (swelling)
of the tissue in one or both of your lungs. It is usually caused by an
infection by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. At the end of the breathing tubes in
your lungs are clusters of tiny air sacs. If you have pneumonia, these tiny
sacs become inflamed and fill up with fluid.
The most common cause of pneumonia
is a pneumococcal infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus
Mild pneumonia can usually be
treated at home with antibiotics, rest and fluids. People who are otherwise
healthy will normally recover well.
For people with other health
conditions, pneumonia can be severe and may need to be treated in hospital.
Good hygiene and a healthy lifestyle
can help prevent pneumonia. Try to avoid smoking, as it damages your lungs and
increases the chance of infection.
People at high risk of pneumonia
should also be offered the pneumonia jab and the flu jab.
Pneumonia can affect people of any
age, although it is more common and can be more serious in groups such as:
Babies, young children and elderly people
People who smoke
People with other health conditions, such as a lung
condition or weakened immune system as in a recent illness such as flu,
treatment for cancer such as chemotherapy, medicines that weaken the
immune system after an organ transplant, HIV or AIDS
You may continue to cough for two to
three weeks after finishing your course of antibiotics and feel tired for even
longer, as your body continues to recover. RULE OUT your concern about cough if
any,by consulting your doctor.
Let your doctor know if your
symptoms do not begin to get better within two days of starting treatment. Your
symptoms may not have improved because:
The bacteria causing the infection may be resistant to
antibiotics - your doctor may change to a different antibiotic, or may
start treatment with a second antibiotic while you continue to take the
A virus may be causing the infection, rather than
bacteria - antibiotics have no effect on viruses and your body's immune
system will have to fight the viral infection by creating antibodies to
Your doctor will see you again
around six weeks after you started your antibiotics.
In some cases, they may arrange
follow-up tests such as a chest X-ray, for example if:
Your symptoms have not improved
Your symptoms have come back
You are over the age of 50
Some people may be advised to have
vaccinations against flu or pneumococcal infections after recovering from
Follow your treatment plan as your doctor advises.
Take all medicines as your doctor prescribes. If you're using antibiotics, continue to take the medicine until it's all gone. You may start to feel better before you finish the medicine, but you should continue to take it. If you stop too soon, the pneumonia may come back.
Ask your doctor when you should schedule follow-up care. Your doctor may recommend a chest x ray to make sure the infection is gone.
It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better and are able to return to their normal routines within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more. Most people continue to feel tired for about a month. Talk with your doctor about when you can go back to your normal routine.
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains--at least 5 servings per day.
Cook with oils that contain polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat like olive oil or canola oil.
Choose chicken, fish, or beans instead of red meat.
Consume white rice, white bread, potatoes, white pasta, soda, and sweets sparingly .
Include dairy or calcium supplements in your diet.
Quit Smoking and Alcohol
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day maximum. One serving of alcohol is equivalent to 1 ounce of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
Refrain from using tobacco products, including chewing tobacco.
Strive to get a minimum of 30- 45 minutes of moderate exercise most if not all days of the week.
Body needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is common cause of tiredness and increases risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders like diabetes
Stay calm and think positive
Keep yourself occupied with your job and perceive hobbies like reading, singing, painting etc.
Make Hygiene A Habit
Maintain it for your own health and prevent the spread of infection
Washing hands, disposing your discharges (sputum) and keeping your dwelling airy and clean.
Risk of you contracting added viral or bacterial infections are more
Regular vaccination shots
Most commonly against seasonal flu, H1N1 flu, pneumococcal infections
Seek such support as it gives motivation at being regular in taking medicines. It also helps to have better approach towards life with disease.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Reference: United States Department of Agriculture. Eat Smart. Play Hard.TM Healthy Lifestyle.
One serving is roughly a regular sized "katori" or bowl
Look for carbohydrate foods that are
whole grain and/or contain whole grains and fiber. Choose foods such as:
Whole grain breads and cereals
Potatoes with skin
Whole grain pasta
Pilaf made with bulgur and quinoa
Protein foods low in fat are not
only heart-healthy, but are also easier to digest they won't leave you feeling
weighted down like fried meats or high-fat choices such as spare ribs or
salami. Choose items such as:
Tofu or textured vegetable protein
Beans and lentils
Low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk, or cheese)
Combine carbohydrates and protein in
any combination that works for you:
Whole grain bread with roast turkey and tomato slices
paired with an apple
Whole grain cereal with non-fat milk with a sliced
Salmon on a bed of lentils drizzled in fresh lemon
juice, spicy brown rice, and beans topped with Greek yogurt; or
Chicken vegetable soup with a pear salad.
- 1 Cup luke warm water 1tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tbsp honey
- dry fruits - 2 almonds 2apricots 8 raisins (combination of dry fruits)
Morning Snack (Breakfast)
- oats or rice porridge 1 cup full cream pasteurised milk 1 fruit apple or banana
- 2 idlis milk boiled sweet potato or Fruit salad
- 2 multi grain or whole wheat or jowar rotis 1 cup dal 1 cup rajma or chana curry 1 bowl rice
- include 1 bowl of salad like cucumber, carrots, beet, onions, tomatoes or a bowl of vegetable soup
- 1 SMALL cup tea 2 whole grain biscuits
- 1 glass(250ml) milk shake or fruit punch
- 1 bowl of corn flakes with low fat milk
- 1 roti a bowl of brown rice or khichdi 1 cup curry (palak or moong dal) a small bowl salad dressed with yoghurt a small dessert( suji halwa or sewai porridge)
- 1/2 Cup milk with dry ginger or turmeric powder or saffron
to your healthcare team about the amount and types of activities that are right
Tips for being active
Pick activities you like and
that fit easily into your daily routine.
Work out what time is best for
you to exercise and stick to it.
Be active with friends and
family to keep you motivated.
Reduce the amount of time you
sit or lie down during the day.
Take up running. Running is an
effective and straightforward way of exercising.
Get into shape with Strength
and Flex, a five-week exercise plan to increase your strength and
Walk more: to school, to visit
friends, to the shops, or other places in your neighborhood. For
health benefits, aim to do 10,000 steps a day.
Get your mates involved. You're
more likely to keep active if you have fun and other people to enjoy
Breathing exercises you may follow after treatment to prevent getting pneumonia again
1. The Belly Breath A complete breath fills the lungs to capacity and helps clear secretions as you exhale. Lie on your back with one hand on your stomach just above your belly button and one hand on your chest. Inhale slowly until your lungs fill completely -- both your abdomen and chest should rise. Hold your breath for three seconds, exhale slowly until it feels as if your lungs are empty and then contract your abdomen to push out more air -- you may find yourself coughing. Repeat three to five times and pause for three seconds between breaths.
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate nostril breathing conditions you to breathe through each nostril. Sit in a comfortable position with the third finger of your right hand on your left nostril and your thumb on your right nostril. Press your thumb against the right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril. Fill your lungs to capacity and hold your breath for three seconds. Press your third finger against your left nostril, release your right nostril and exhale naturally. Repeat three to five times and pause for three seconds between breaths. Do not practice alternate nostril breathing if you have blocked nasal passages.
3. Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing conditions your lungs by narrowing the opening through which you exhale. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this type of breathing releases trapped air in the lungs and keeps the airways open longer. Sit comfortably and inhale deeply through your nose. Let your abdomen and chest fully expand and hold your breath for up to three seconds. Purse your lips and exhale slowly, making a hissing sound. Repeat this exercise up to five times, but stop if you feel light-headed.
Ask your parents if you can go
to the gym with them or if there's a local
community center where you can exercise.
Create a new routine where you
walk or run every day when you get home from school or before dinner.
If you don't want to exercise
outside on your own, buddy up with a friend or use an exercise DVD in your
Dance in front of the TV or
play some CDs. All you need are some great tunes and you can have fun
dancing anywhere and burn calories at the same time.
Do some house chores. Although
light tasks such as taking out the rubbish won't raise your heart rate,
some heavy gardening or washing the car will count towards your daily