Viral pneumonia may not be as common as the bacterial form, but it is a very close second especially, for us that are 55 years or older.
It is also quite a bit different that the bacterial and other forms for one simple reason; in most cases it will go away on its own.
However, that is where it can and often does become quite dangerous if we do not take it seriously.
Again the reason for this is simple; it can easily transition into the bacteria form if your immune system is compromised or weakened.
Once it does change and develop into the bacterial form, the symptoms that we may be fighting will all begin to change and become much worse.
Any form of this potential beast is the result of some kind of intrusion that has somehow passed through our throats and managed to get into our lungs.
These infections include several parasites, bacterium, fungi, as well as viruses.
In this case, viral pneumonia is the result of a viral infection that has indeed made it past our immune system defenses in our mouth and throats and into our lungs.
However, what is not well known, is that over one third (1/3) off all cases of this dangerous condition is the viral form.
There are several different viruses that can trigger it, but there are 3 that account for the majority of it.
They include the following.
The reason it can and is so dangerous, especially as we all get older, is that according to the CDC, Center for Disease control, is that it is the 8th leading killer in the U.S.
The flu virus is by far and away the most common cause of this form, and again, once we get older, we should be on guard.
Although the flu hit us very hard as we were younger, after a couple of days, most of us could easily bounce back.
However as we all get older, if we do get the flu, we need to be on “high alert” about the possibility of viral pneumonia developing.
RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, is the next leading cause.
It is also the number one cause of lower respiratory infections in children, and again, second for this form in older adults.
PTV, parainfluenza virus, is right behind RSV, and if it does not cause this beast, it can and often does lead to bronchitis.
While bronchitis is not a deadly as this beast, it is not far behind.
One of the most challenging aspects about viral pneumonia is the fact that the symptoms simulate those of the flu.
The other forms of this potentially dangerous beast will hit, hit, and then hit you again.
This form does not, at least not at first, and it is also very important to remember the term; “at first”.
If you experience the following early symptoms, and then the late symptoms appear, there is very little doubt what you have.
Here are the most common early symptoms.
The secondary symptoms will include the following
The production will be in the form of mucus, which is one of the most telling signs of this beast.
As mentioned earlier, viral pneumonia in about 50% of all cases goes and comes and we may never know that we have had it.
However, as we all get older, it does not come and go quite as easily as when we were younger.
In fact, there are also several risk factors that place people our age at a higher degree of risk of not being able to have it go away on its own.
They include the following
As we all get older, if we smoke, the risks of several conditions become more prevalent, and this form is no different.
There is another very challenging aspect about viral pneumonia; it is very contagious.
As we all get older and pass the 55-60 year old mark, one thing we need to take a look at very seriously is a pneumonia vaccination.
While there will always be a lot of controversy for some about a vaccination, there are several advantages to them,
In fact, I am personally getting my first pneumonia vaccination tomorrow, June 16th, 2017.
The reason for this is simple; I have had the bacterial form 3 years in a row now. And in all 3 times, it started out as the viral form.
I have spent several years of my career in the drug store industry, and have a tremendous amount of respect for all medical professionals.
However, pharmacists in the vast majority of cases understand drugs, their interactions and dangers, much better than a lot of doctors.
In this case, I got the advice of my regular doctor as well as a second opinion. I also got the opinion of 10 different pharmacists that I used to work with.
To a person, all of them told me the exact same thing.
At my age, 64, and with the history of developing this potentially dangerous beast, whatever the form, their answers were yes—without hesitation.
While we used to be able to handle and fight off this invasion, as we all get older, our immune system is slowing down.
Fighting off viral pneumonia is no different and we need some help.
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