‘Pneumococcal’ is a broad term. Generally, it is characterized by any condition caused by the pneumococcus bacteria. This bacteria can cause a host of infections, including ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis, and bacteremia. One of the most common pneumococcal conditions is pneumonia – infection of the lungs.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common form of bacterial pneumonia. It is characterized by a cough (which usually brings up mucus), chest pain, fever, difficulty breathing, aches, and nausea. Although bacterial pneumonia is unpleasant, healthy people tend to fight it off on their own with the aid of antibiotics. However, in people with weak immune systems, infants and the elderly, pneumonia can be life-threatening. It is generally diagnosed by a doctor following the analysis of its symptoms, and sometimes with a chest x-ray. When left untreated, pneumonia can lead to bacteremia and other more serious complications.
The pneumococcus bacteria is transmissible from person-to-person. This means that it is possible to catch pneumococcal pneumonia from coming into contact with someone else who has it.
If bacterial pneumonia is diagnosed, doctors will typically provide antibiotics to help patients fight off the bacteria which is causing the infection. Once the antibiotics are taken, symptoms can begin to go away within 12 to 36 hours. However, feelings of tiredness can sometimes persist for months before complete recovery.
In addition, doctors may also prescribe fever reducers such as ibuprofen.
Although sometimes necessary, hospitalization is not always required for the treatment of pneumonia. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the patient can be treated at home – these patients are advised to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and ensure they take their medication as prescribed until the very end of the course.
The pneumococcal vaccine is the main way to avoid getting pneumococcal pneumonia. Such vaccines can be given to both adults and children. In addition, general hygiene can help prevent the spread of bacterial pneumonia. Washing hands with water and soap and avoiding people who have cold and flu are good examples of ways to avoid illness.
In some cases, some bacteria have evolved to fight off antibiotics. This is known as antibiotic resistance, and it is caused by the overuse or misuse of antibiotics. Medical scientists are still investigating ways around this, and you can read more about it by clicking here.Posted on May 5, 2023