Pneumonia is a common ailment that affects over 900 thousand people each year. It is typically caused by a bacterial infection and is transmitted through droplets that arise when you cough or sneeze. Those with diabetes are also at a higher risk for pneumonia, so if you are in this position, it is important to manage your condition with a good diet for diabetes (a healthy dose of vitamin D also helps with pneumonia prevention!). Learning to detect signs of pneumonia can help you get the medical attention you need quicker so that you have a more effective recovery. Here are the 4 stages of pneumonia that you need to look out for.
The first stage, Acute Onset of Pneumonia, is typified by a sudden onset. Look out for a fever with chills, headaches, and chest pains that occur without coughs (although the opposite can sometimes occur as well). At this stage of pneumonia, you’ll notice physical systems that can be found in viral upper respiratory infections. These can include low-grade fevers, coughs or chest congestion. Most of the time, no sweating is present in cases at this stage.
The symptoms in the second stage of pneumonia are characterized by their duration and severity. They are similar to the symptoms found in the first stage but last for a longer period, which tends to be more than a week. The respiratory system will also be affected – look out for difficulty breathing or a shortness of breath.
At this stage, the respiratory system continues to worsen. What can occur is lung damage or a prolonged difficulty with breathing, which may necessitate oxygen therapy.
This stage is characterized by worsening respiratory conditions. In 20% of cases, there will need to be artificial respiration. Otherwise, this stage can necessitate long-term oxygen therapy, and symptoms include difficulty breathing and swallowing.
How Long is Pneumonia Recovery?
The recovery period for pneumonia is wide-ranging. Some might recover quickly and be able to go back to their daily routine in a week’s time. Others might need up to a month, or even longer, before they feel well enough to do so. Most people may feel a lingering sense of fatigue for up to a month after their diagnosis – this is referred to as “post-pneumonia fatigue syndrome”. Moving back to daily life without proper rest periods between activities can be stressful. It is thus important that one does not overload themselves during recovery.
After your diagnosis, you will work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan. This includes assessing the type of pneumonia affecting your body for a recovery plan that works for you. Following your health care provider’s instructions and being honest about how you feel at each step of your recovery process is crucial to achieve full recovery. Discuss any changes in your condition – no matter how minute – with your doctor so that the recovery plan can be adjusted where necessary.