The immediate future of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail was in doubt on Monday after it was revealed she was battling a case of pneumonia. The announcement came hours after she fell ill on Sunday at a 9/11 memorial in New York City, where aides had to help her find a waiting vehicle.
The 68-year-old man’s diagnosis is a common illness that affects millions of people every year, some of whom require hospital treatment. As the fall season approaches, the risk of catching pneumonia increases.
What is pneumonia? According to Disease Control Centers, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Although diseases like influenza (influenza) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – both of which have a higher rate of infection during fall and winter months – are regularly associated with pneumonia, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports the most common way adults get pneumonia is through strep bacteria, which accounts for up to one-third of reported cases in the United States each year.
When a person’s lungs become infected with these viruses and bacteria, the immune system tries to block the spread of the infection by sending attack cells. However, these cells can sometimes cause inflammation or a filling of air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, with fluid and pus, resulting in the symptoms of pneumonia.
What are the symptoms? Several factors can determine the severity of pneumonia symptoms, including age, general health, and the specific type of pneumonia. The most common symptoms are cough, fever, chills, and shortness of breath, but people may also experience chest pain, headache, excessive sweating, clammy skin, discharge. appetite and decreased energy. It is known that the elderly also suffer from confusion due to pneumonia. Symptoms of viral pneumonia are often confused with those of the flu, due to the fever, dry cough, headache, and similar muscle pain that people experience. While the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia tend to be more extreme, with body temperatures reaching 105 degrees Fahrenheit, profuse sweating, rapid breathing, confusion, or delirium.
Who is most at risk? Between five million and 10 million people suffer from pneumonia in the United States each year, and more than one million people are hospitalized because of the disease, according to the New York Times. Although proper treatment for most cases of pneumonia results in a successful cure, the infection is still responsible for 40,000 to 70,000 deaths each year. Those most commonly affected are the elderly – especially the elderly who live in nursing homes or are already ill – very young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.
How is it treated? Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics, and most people with the disease show signs of improvement within one to three days. However, people with viral pneumonia may take longer to recover because antibiotics do not fight viral infections. Dskating fluids and getting plenty of rest is one of the best ways to help the body recover from pneumonia.