Pneumonia is a severe chest infection that has developed to involve the lung tissue and air sacs as opposed to just the bronchial tree as in bronchitis. The symptoms are a persistent cough with or without the production of colourful sputum, shortness of breath and shallow breathing, fever, rigors and, if the lining of the lung is affected, pain from pleurisy. Chest X-ray will show patchy white cloud-like appearances and a stethoscope will reveal absent breath sounds if the congestion is marked or crackles and wheezes in the area of infiltration.
Pneumonia, like bronchitis, is most common in smokers and commonly in individuals whose immune system is weak. The common causes are viral and bacterial, but noxious gases, fungal infections and parasites may all trigger pneumonia. Pneumonia is particularly risky in the elderly because of the marked reduction in oxygen absorption. It is the fifth leading cause of death in the Western world.
See Bronchitis. Medical advice should be sought swiftly if pneumonia is suspected. The vitamin supplement dosages are the same as for bronchitis.
An acute pneumonia in the immunocompromised, the very young or elderly should be treated with antibiotics after a sputum sample has been taken if the following alternative options do not seem to be benefiting within 24-36hr.
Encourage expectoration by using inhalations of Lavender, Olbas and Lobelia. Their fluid extracts should be dropped into steaming water and inhaled.
Seven drops of Lobelia with seven drops of liquorice in a cup of warm water should be taken four times a day by an adult and may be used by a child but needs to be taken in half dosage under the age of 14 years.
Echinacea or Hydrastis can be taken in a powdered form at two times the recommended dosage on a proprietary medicine.
Bed rest is recommended because exertion will increase oxygen demand.
Reduce refined sugar intake because it promotes bacterial growth.
Increase water intake to dilute down mucus and allow easier removal from the lungs.
Osteopathy will open the inevitable contraction of the chest wall muscles.
Acupuncture can be immediately relieving.
Eastern physicians may use a technique called cupping, which is a vacuum technique placed around the chest and back to pull blood to the surface.