You need to know this!
According to the American Journal of Physiology, COVID-19 infection and pandemic is claimed to take 1.9 million lives by 31st December 2020. If all the deaths are categorised as lower respiratory infections by the Global Burden of Disease, then it will increase the all-cause pneumonia mortality rate of 2020 by 70%.
This brings the annual death toll due to pneumonia to a whopping 4.5 million globally, stated the article.
Pneumonia deaths have spiked drastically unrelated to the flu – this shows that deaths have been caused due to COVID-19, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The organisation claims that some people are dying of pneumonia after getting infected by the virus.
World Pneumonia Day 2020 was celebrated on 12th November 2020 under the theme 'Every Breath Counts.' It's celebrated to advocate for global action against the acute respiratory disease which claims millions of lives. The above statistics suggest the need for spreading awareness.
Before this, you need to understand the relationship between COVID-19 and pneumonia from the best COVID-19 hospitals in Vadodara – Pranayam Lung & Heart Institute.
Also read: Things to Know About Lung Condition to Beat Covid
COVID-19 and Pneumonia: Relationship
Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs caused by viruses, fungi and bacteria, resulting in cough, fever and trouble in breathing, as defined by the CDC.
The respiratory tree or the pathway for air between the lungs get affected, causing inflammation in the tiny air sacs inside your lungs. In severe conditions, it fills up with excess pus and fluid that makes the person hard to breathe.
In severe cases of pneumonia, the lungs are so inflamed that they cannot inhale sufficient oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This deprivation damages the body organs, leading to kidney failure, heart failure and other adverse situations. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed that the most common diagnosis for severe COVID-19 is severe pneumonia.
According to a study done to understand the clinical characteristics of hospitalized patients infected by the novel coronavirus and pneumonia in Wuhan and China said that it had 26% of severe cases which were treated in the intensive care unit and around 4.3% died in the ICU due to pneumonia.
COVID-19 Pneumonia and Regular Pneumonia: Underlining the Difference
The symptoms of COVID-19 pneumonia are similar to other types of viral pneumonia; this makes it difficult to tell the difference between the two unless you get tested for COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
Experts are still researching to identify the difference between them. This can be a help in identifying, diagnosing and understanding how COVID-19 affects the lungs.
A few recent studies have found that COVID-19 pneumonia can have the following symptoms:
it affects both the lungs and not just one
the lungs show a ground-glass like an appearance through the CT scan
abnormalities witnessed in some laboratory tests
COVID-19 and Pneumonia: Risks
Let’s understand the common symptoms of COVID-19 pneumonia:
shortness of breath
Usually, most COVID-19 cases have mild to moderate symptoms. As per the CDC, mild pneumonia can be present in some individuals.
However, COVID-19 can be life-threatening and can lead to severe bouts of pneumonia. In critical cases, patients can develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). People suffering from ARDS need mechanical ventilation to help them breathe.
Go to your nearby COVID-19 hospital for further treatment before things become worse.
Thus, it’s advisable to seek emergency care immediately if you experience:
trouble in breathing (rapid and shallow breathing should never be ignored)
pain in the chest
bluish colour noticed on the lips, face and fingernails
difficulty in waking
Ideal Candidates for Developing COVID-19 Pneumonia:
Usually, older adults 65 years and older are prone to get COVID-19 pneumonia. Individuals living in a long-term care facility or an assisted living facility can put you at greater risk too. You cannot ignore people with underlying health conditions like:
liver and heart conditions
chronic kidney disease
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc.
Even a weakened immune system can increase the risk of getting COVID-19 illnesses. Being immunocompromised means your immune system is weaker than normal. It can result from:
consuming drugs that weaken your immune system (like corticosteroids and autoimmune drugs)
undergoing cancer treatment
underwent a bone marrow transplant or an organization
diagnosed with HIV
People with these conditions shouldn’t make any delay in their treatment for COVID-19. We know you might also want to know the process that goes in diagnosing COVID-19 pneumonia. Scroll down for more.
COVID-19 and Pneumonia: Treatment
COVID-19 can lead to long-term health effects. Several studies have found that 66 out of 77 people who had COVID-19 pneumonia witnessed their lung lesions were clearly seen during CT scan. People who have had severe pneumonia or ARDS may have a long-lasting lung scarring. It’s also known that lung lesions reduce within a year after the recovery, but after the recovery period, the lesions plateaued.
Initially, COVID-19 is performed using a test to detect the presence of viral genetic material from a respiratory sample. It’s done by collecting a sample by swabbing your nose or throat. You can also use imaging technology like CT scan to see the changes taking place in your lungs due to COVID-19 pneumonia.
Several laboratory tests are done to identify the severity of the disease done by collecting a blood sample from the vein or artery in your arm. Your doctor may ask you to undergo other tests like metabolic panel and complete blood count (CBC).
People with COVID-19 pneumonia are often on oxygen therapy and may also require a ventilator. The treatment totally focuses on supportive care, where it eases your symptoms and makes sure you get enough oxygen. Get your treatment from the best COVID-19 hospital in Vadodara.
Also read: How we Treat COVID-19 Patients with Physiotherapy?
COVID-19 and Pneumonia: Prevention
You can’t prevent COVID-19 pneumonia, but you can take preventive measures to reduce it only if you follow these simple tips:
Practice COVID-19 control measures like washing hands, social distancing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
Incorporate healthy lifestyle habits that can boost your immune system like staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, sleeping well and performing physical activities.
Manage your underlying health conditions and take all your medications regularly.
Stay in touch with your doctor. Seek medical attention whenever needed.
Avoid contact with people outside your household, and make sure you maintain a safe 6-foot distance from other people.
Most of the COVID-19 cases are mild, which makes pneumonia a potential complication. As we are all waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, the best option is to take all safety measures to avoid getting COVID-19 pneumonia.
For the time being, make sure you adhere to all infection control measures and monitor your symptoms to get an infective with the novel coronavirus. Also, take care of your elders and people with pre-existing medical conditions to prevent critical conditions.
Get prompt medical care from your next-door super specialty heart and lung hospital in Vadodara. We even offer effective coronavirus treatments and other solutions for the cure of Respiratory (lung/chest) and Cardiac (heart) care as a regional and national centre of excellence. Visit us today!