What is pneumonia?
The leading infectious cause of death in children up to age 5 years, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Hallmark symptoms include coughing, fever, and breathlessness. It is a complication resulting from the contraction and development of viral or bacterial infections, such as influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and a host of other infections. Pneumonia can occur in one or both lungs and can range from mild to life-threatening.
When you experience symptoms of pneumonia, your doctor may be able to confirm the diagnosis simply by listening to your lungs with a stethoscope. A chest X-ray can offer further confirmation. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the underlying cause and could involve antibiotics, antivirals, or other medications. Vaccines also are available to help you prevent developing pneumonia.