Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. It can be mild or severe depending on the symptoms and reaction of the patient to medication. It can affect either/ both of the lungs. In pneumonia, the air sacs in the lungs get filled with fluid or pus which will in turn make it more difficult for the infected person to breathe in enough oxygen to reach the bloodstream.
Hypostatic Pneumonia – All The Thing You Should Know About
While anyone can get pneumonia, those below 2 years of age and above 65 years old are more susceptible. Pneumonia can be caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Bacterial or viral pneumonia can be spread to others.
Symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Chest pain when breathing or coughing
- Cough with phlegm or mucus
- Loss of appetite
- Fever and chills
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics. Patients are advised to religiously follow the prescription even when you believe they are feeling better and are completely healthy.
Unfortunately, antibiotics do not work for viral pneumonia. Rest, fluids, and fever medicine are prescribed for fighting off viral pneumonia. Antifungal therapy is applied for those with fungal pneumonia.
A particular type of pneumonia that is most likely to affect the elderly and those who are prone to remain in the same position for long periods due to some debilitating disease is hypostatic pneumonia.
Hypostatic pneumonia is a result of the collection of fluid in the lungs’ dorsal region. Dependent portions of the lungs develop an infection due to decreased ventilation of those areas. This results in a failure of draining bronchial secretions. It may come under aspiration pneumonia type due to the possibility of silent aspiration.
Some ways to prevent hypostatic pneumonia are:
- Vaccine: Annual flu shots can help prevent influenza. Those older than 65 years should get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia.
- Hygiene: COVID-19 has taught us to wash hands regularly and this is certainly a must in order to prevent pneumonia. Also, maintain good oral hygiene.
- Stop smoking: Tobacco causes great damage to the lungs. It hinders the lungs’ ability to fight off infections and also causes cancer.
- Healthy habits: Develop healthy habits such as exercising, following a healthy diet, rest when needed etc.
For those who are forced to remain in the same position (lying down), some simple steps may go a long way in preventing hypostatic pneumonia:
- Practice cough and deep breathing exercises using an incentive spirometer
- Compulsorily follow twice a day oral hygiene practices with chlorhexidine swabs
- Use ambulation with good pain control
- Ensure your head of bed elevation is set at 30o.
- Sit up for all meals as much as it is possible
Pneumonia needs to be taken very seriously especially in the older age group as complications as follows may develop:
- Respiratory failure requiring breathing machine or ventilator support
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (a severe form of respiratory failure)
- Lung abscesses