Pneumonia is an infection of the lung tissue, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. There are two types of pneumonia: lobar pneumonia and bronchopneumonia. Lobar pneumonia is when an entire lobe or more than one lobe of the lung gets involved. Bronchopneumonia happens when the bronchi and the lung tissue both get involved.
Causes of Bronchopneumonia
Bronchopneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, but the most common cause is bacteria. The most common causative organism is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other causative agents of bronchopneumonia are Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus and Klebsiella pneumoniae.
Viruses that usually cause the common cold and flu can also cause bronchopneumonia.
Risks for Developing Bronchopneumonia
Some people are at a higher risk for developing bronchopneumonia than the others. The risk factors for developing bronchopneumonia include:
- Young children below the age of 2 years.
- Elders above 65 years old.
- People with diseases that compromise the immune system such as HIV/AIDS.
- People taking immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids and chemotherapeutic drugs.
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes.
- Chronic smokers
- People abusing alcohol
- Malnourished individuals
What are the symptoms of bronchopneumonia?
How is bronchopneumonia diagnosed?
Your doctor will talk to you and take a complete medical history followed by a complete physical examination. Your doctor will listen to your lung sounds to check if the infection has gone deep down to the lungs. Your body temperature will also be measured to check if you have a fever. A diagnosis will be made according to the physical examination and will be confirmed with further tests.
Your doctor will order tests like chest X-ray and sputum culture to confirm the diagnosis and find the cause of the pneumonia. Your doctor will also measure your oxygen saturation using a pulse oximeter. It is a small instrument placed on your index finger. It will be connected to a monitor that shows the oxygen saturation. The oxygen saturation will allow your doctor to assess the severity of the infection. If it is low, he will prescribe you oxygen to increase the oxygen saturation.
How is bronchopneumonia treated?
As you know bronchopneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Viral bronchopneumonia usually does not require any treatment and will resolve on its own within one or two weeks.
If you have bacterial bronchopneumonia, then your doctor will start a course of antibiotic therapy. Intially, he/she will prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics that will target a wide range of likely organisms. Once the sputum culture and antibiotic sensitivity results come, a more appropriate narrow-spectrum antibiotic will be prescribed that will target on the exact causative organism.
Other symptomatic management will also be given to you. They include:
- Antipyretics - such as acetaminophen to bring down the fever.
- Mucolytic- to thin down the sputum and expectorate them from the body.
- Cough medication - for your persistent and annoying cough.
- Analgesics - such as paracetamol and NSAIDS to reduce the pain.
- Oxygen - via nasal prongs or face mask to help you in breathing.
In addition to this, you should also rest adequately and drink plenty of water for a faster recovery.