Pneumonia

This is the inflammation of the substance of the lungs.

What to look for

  • cough - either with phlegm or without it.

  • fever (with pain on coughing or taking a deep breath occasionally)

  • Loss of appetite and weight

  • In children, laboured and rapid breathing, sudden onset of fever, cough, wheezing, and bluish skin are general signs of pneumonia.

Pneumonia is the relatively common inflammation caused by various viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

In response, the lungs become congested with fluids and cells that leak from the affected tissue. There are generally three types :-

  1. Lobar Pneumonia - if the inflammation is limited to one lobe of one lung; - if the inflammation is limited to one lobe of one lung;

  2. Bronchopneumonia - inflammation spreading from the bronchi to other parts of one or both lungs. - inflammation spreading from the bronchi to other parts of one or both lungs.

  3. Double Pneumonia - if both lungs are inflamed. - if both lungs are inflamed.

It usually lasts about 2 to 3 weeks, however you may feel fatigued for quite a few weeks after the condition has cleared.

Viral pneumonia is generally mild while bacterial pneumonia’s are more complex and serious.

Pneumonia is a common complication of many illnesses, and like the common cold and flu, can be transmitted from one person to another.

Causes

Viruses and bacteria normally cause this disease.

Pneumonia can be mild and treatable at home or you may need to be hospitalised, therefore it is vital that a doctor diagnose the condition.

Traditional Treatment

It is imperative that the patient recover quickly as problems can occur if the disease remains for too long. All treatments include bed rest and ridding the body of any infections and phlegm in the lungs.

If you have a mild case of viral pneumonia, you can probably recover at home after getting a diagnosis from your doctor.

If you have bacterial pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you are diagnosed as having pneumonia, various alternative therapies may help ease your symptoms and hasten your recovery.

Aromatherapy - Recovery from pneumonia may be helped if you add the essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.), or pine to a vapouriser or blend in a carrier oil for massage purposes. Recovery from pneumonia may be helped if you add the essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.), or pine to a vapouriser or blend in a carrier oil for massage purposes.

See the Aromatherapy section for more information on the essential oils. Not all people can use all the oils.

Herbal Therapies -  Since clearing the lungs of phlegm is an important part of the healing process, using traditional herbal expectorants to promote coughing can aid recovery. Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) bark, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), lobelia (Lobelia inflata), and horehound (Marrubium vulgare) are good herbs to use for this purpose - See Our Herbal Section for more information on these and other herbs.  You will need to see a Professional for specific dosages and preparations. Since clearing the lungs of phlegm is an important part of the healing process, using traditional herbal expectorants to promote coughing can aid recovery. Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) bark, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), lobelia (Lobelia inflata), and horehound (Marrubium vulgare) are good herbs to use for this purpose - See Our Herbal Section for more information on these and other herbs.  You will need to see a Professional for specific dosages and preparations.

Eating raw garlic (Allium sativum) or three garlic capsules three times a day is said to help your body fight infection. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) may help you recover from infection:

Homoeopathy - Some recommended over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies are Bryonia, Phosphorus, and Arsenicum album; follow label directions. Some recommended over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies are Bryonia, Phosphorus, and Arsenicum album; follow label directions.

Dietary Considerations

  • Vitamin C may offer substantial benefits in fighting pneumonia if started within two days of onset.

  • drink plenty of fluids and filtered water

  • vitamin A, for not more than two weeks, may help support your respiratory and immune systems.

  • eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Zinc supplements, may also help your immune system fight infection. •

  • Vitamin E daily may help support damaged lung tissue.

  • If you are on antibiotics it is wise to also take Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements or natural acidophilus yoghurt.

Prevention

  • Avoid smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke

  • Don't drink large amounts of alcohol

When to seek further professional advice

  • your symptoms indicate you have any form of pneumonia