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Pneumonia is an infectious disease which causes inflammation of the alveoli. Symptoms include coughing out mucus which may be rusty or green or tinged with blood; fever; fast breathing and feeling short of breath; shaking and "teeth-chattering" chills; chest pain; fast heartbeat; weakness; nausea and vomiting and diarrhea.
Pneumonia is mainly caused by infection with viruses or bacteria. But in some cases it can be caused by other microorganisms like atypical microorganisms. Diseases such as cystic fibrosis, COPD, and asthma, diabetes, stroke and heart failure make people more vulnerable for pneumonia; smoking and a weak immune system increase the chances of contracting pneumonia.
Physical examination, chest X-ray, blood tests, and culture of the sputum are the common tools used for diagnosis.
Treatment of pneumonia depends on the underlying cause. If caused by bacteria, then anti-biotics are prescribed. In cases of severe pneumonia, the affected person is generally hospitalized.
Preventive measures against pneumonia involve vaccination (available to certain kinds of pneumonia), quitting smoking, handwashing and boosting immunity by maintaining a healthy life style