Aspiration pneumonia
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Pneumonia is an illness in which the lungs become inflamed because of an infection caused by bacteria, a virus, or material being inhaled into the lungs. The air sacs fill with pus and fluids, making breathing very difficult. Because of this difficulty, oxygen cannot reach your blood at the rate it is supposed to, so your cells can’t work properly, leaving your body weakened and unable fight it when the infection spreads throughout your body. Pneumonia is an independent illness, but can also be a complication of other illnesses; indeed, many people suffering from some other primary illness often die of pneumonia, a secondary result of the other illness.


Aspiration pneumonia occurs when the lungs or bronchial tubes become infected because someone has breathed in fluid, chemicals, food particles, vomit, or oral secretions. This sometimes happens when people have stomach disorders, disorders of the esophagus, or illnesses that cause problems swallowing. Some people who are in comas or semi-conscious are lacking in a gag reflex, and that sometimes leads to materials getting in the lungs that would otherwise be kept out.

You can tell if you or someone else has a swallowing problem, the kind that lead to aspiration pneumonia, if you drool, or if fluid leaks out of your nose. You may also have food left over in the mouth after you swallow, or feel pain when you swallow. Sometimes a swallowing problem is indicated when you make unusual movements with your head or neck when trying to swallow. If you cough or choke a lot while swallowing, or if your voice sounds gurgly after you swallow, you may have a problem, and it may be the kind of problem that can lead to pneumonia.

Besides unconsciousness or semi-consciousness, the natural problems with swallowing and muscle control that come with old age can also be a risk factor for aspiration pneumonia. Nursing home patients are at increased risk of aspiration pneumonia, and babies, too, have a high risk. Other risk factors include dental problems, which can make swallowing difficult, sedatives, anesthesia, or long-term use of alcohol. If the material breathed into the lungs is very acidic, it will cause more damage to them than other materials might, though it will not always lead to pneumonia. If you have a history of respiratory problems or if you or someone in your care is usually fed through a feeding tube, there may also e an increased risk for this type of pneumonia.


The symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include chills and fatigue in addition to a cough. The cough will contain foul-smelling sputum, green sputum, or even pus or blood. There may also be chest pain, wheezing, and rapid pulse. You may feel anxious or upset, or like you are going to faint. You may have a difficult time breathing, and because of it, your skin may have a blue tinge that is the result of a lack of oxygen. Other symptoms might include excessive sweating, bad breath, and difficulty swallowing, including the feeling that something is stuck in your throat. In some cases, your fever might rise as high as one hundred five degrees.
aspiration pneumonia
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When your doctor examines you, he or she may hear crackling sounds in the lungs. They will also order a chest X-ray, a sputum culture, a blood culture, a CT scan of the chest, a bronchoscopy, and a complete blood count to check for the presence of bacteria. If you do have aspiration pneumonia, your doctor might recommend a hospital stay, though this depends on how severe the infection is; some people are able to recover at home. They will give you antibiotics, which sometimes include special antibiotics for bacteria in the mouth. If the aspiration pneumonia is caused by chronic difficulties in swallowing, the doctor might recommend other methods of feeding. Coughs will have to be treated with cough medicines, and pain due to repeated coughing or infection will be treated with pain relievers.


Pneumonia is a very serious disease, whatever the cause. It can cause you to be very sick for a very long time, even to die. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of death throughout the world. There are many potential complications from pneumonia, including aspiration pneumonia, that pose a serious threat to your health. The infection could spread if it is not treated in a timely manner; it could spread to your blood or to other parts of your body, resulting in illness that is much more challenging to get under control. You could have low blood pressure or even go into shock. You could suffer from acute respiratory distress syndrome, in which you find it very difficult to breathe because your lungs are not working efficiently. You could even develop a lung abscess, a pocket of infection or pus in the lung.

Because pneumonia can be so serious, it is important to get it treated early. Do not take chances with your lungs; if you have any of the symptoms—wheezing, shortness of breath, chills or fever, or chest pain, call your doctor or go to the emergency room. You do not want to risk the infection spreading within your own body, and you do not want to risk infecting others.

There are only a few ways to prevent aspiration pneumonia from happening. First of all, be aware that it is a risk, for you or for someone in your care. Even the knowledge that it could happen to someone who has difficulty swallowing will cause you to be more careful in how you feed them. And second, of course, once you are aware of the dangers of pneumonia, is to avoid anything that could cause a person to swallow wrong and possibly contact aspiration pneumonia. Other measures that can help prevent pneumonia include washing your hands as often s you can, not smoking, and wearing a mask when you are cleaning dusty or moldy areas. This will ensure that you don’t inhale those harmful substances into your lungs.
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