Bacterial Pneumonia – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Bacteria are the leading infectious agents that cause infection in lungs resulting in Pneumonia. Bacteria along with Viruses are regarded as the major infectious agent for Pneumonia in human beings. As the name suggests, infection in the lungs caused by Bacteria is called as Bacterial Pneumonia.

The classification of pneumonia on the basis of causative agent is done because the treatment depends on the underlying infectious agent that has caused the infection. Thus, bacterial Pneumonia is treated differently than Viral Pneumonia.

How Bacterial Pneumonia occurs

Bacteria reach the lungs of the patient through inhaled air via nose or through the bloodstream from other infected parts of the body. Bacteria are usually present in upper respiratory tract, however once they enter the alveoli; they reach the spaces between the cells of the lungs.

The immune system of body reacts to the presence of bacteria in the lungs by triggering the onset of WBC (lymphocytes). These WBCs eventually leads to the fluid leakage in the alveoli that causes

impaired oxygen transportation.

Moreover, the bacteria travel to other parts of the body from the lungs via bloodstream resulting in damage to various parts of the body such as brain, heart, kidney, etc.

Causes of Bacterial Pneumonia

The Bacterial pneumonia is caused by the following bacteria.

• Gram positive Bacteria : Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus

• Gram-negative Bacteria : Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Moraxella catarrhalis

• Atypical Bacteria: Coxiella burnetii, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila.

Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia

Depending on the type of bacteria, doctors usually classify the symptoms of the bacteria into Typical Pneumonia Symptoms and Atypical Pneumonia Symptoms.

Symptoms of Typical Pneumonia

• High fever

• Shaking chills

• Production of yellow or brown sputum

• Chest pain that get worsened with breathing or coughing

• Shortness of breath

• Confusion in older people

Symptoms of Atypical Pneumonia

The symptoms of typical pneumonia usually onset slowly and may follows after other illness. The patient has the infection but he/she does not appear to be ill. That’s why it is also called as walking pneumonia.

• Low fever

• Less chances of shaking chills

• Headache

• Body aches

• Joint pain

• Dry Cough or cough with little sputum

• Abdominal pain in some cases

• Feeling weak

Treatment of Bacterial Pneumonia

The treatment of Bacterial Pneumonia is done with antibiotics. The treatment can be done either at home or at hospital in severe cases.

Treatment therapy for Bacterial Pneumonia involves the following.

• Intravenous antibiotics for 5 – 8 days for severe cases.

• Patients with uncomplicated pneumonia require only 2 or 3 days of intravenous antibiotics. They are shifted to oral therapy afterwards

• Patient is asked to drink plenty of fluids including juices, water, tea, lemonade, etc.

• Oxygen is usually used in hospitalised patient with breathing problems

• Use of humidified air helps in loosening the mucus

• Patient may take aspirin, NSAIDs, for controlling fever. However, Aspirin should not be given to children.

• Patient is advised to take plenty of rest.

• Chest therapy is used for loosening the mucus so that it can be expelled out by deep coughing.