Being one of the major infectious agents of Pneumonia, Viruses are responsible for causing pneumonia infection among the masses; especially in children and older adults. As the name suggests, infection in the lungs caused by viruses is called as Viral Pneumonia.
It is important to classify the pneumonia on the basis of causative agent because the treatment of pneumonia varies depending on the underlying infectious agent that has caused the infection.
How Viral Pneumonia occurs
Viruses reach the lungs of the patient through inhaled air via nose or in form of droplets via mouth. In the lungs, viruses invade the cells of alveoli and airways leading to the death of the cells.
The immune system of body reacts to the invasion of virus in the lungs by triggering the onset of WBC (lymphocytes). These WBCs eventually cause the fluid leakage in the alveoli.
Thus, the cellular damage and fluid leakage in alveoli affects the functioning of lung including transportation of oxygen into the bloodstream. This way, viruses cause Viral Pneumonia.
Moreover, if a person has a viral pneumonia, he/she becomes vulnerable to bacterial infection which may cause bacterial pneumonia.
Causes of Viral Pneumonia
The Viral pneumonia is caused by the following viruses.
• Para influenza
• Respiratory syncytial virus
Risk Factors of Viral Pneumonia
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, viral pneumonia usually occurs in young children and older adults. It is due to the weak immune system in children and older agents whose bodies find it tough to fight against the viral infection.
Risk factors of Viral Pneumonia include the individuals with weak immune system such as:
• Premature Babies
• Children with heart and lung complications
• Adult HIV/AIDS patients
• Patients receiving chemotherapy
• Patients in immune suppressive drugs
• Organ transplant recipients
Symptoms of Viral Pneumonia
The initial symptoms of viral pneumonia are similar to that of influenza or flu. The symptoms are not visible in early stages and it is only during late stages that symptoms become more pronounced.
Common Symptoms of Viral Pneumonia
• Cough with mucus
• Mild or high Fever
• Shaking chills
• Breathe Shortness that worsens on physical effort
Other symptoms in complicated cases
• Excessive sweating and clammy skin
• Sharp or stabbing chest pain that worsens on coughing or deep inhalation
Treatment of Viral Pneumonia
The treatment of Viral Pneumonia is done with antiviral medications as viruses do not respond to antibiotics. The treatment can be done either at home or at hospital in severe cases.
Treatment therapy for Viral Pneumonia involves the following.
• 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.