Coronavirus symptoms 'overlap' with winter flu says Dr Amir
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Following a viral infection, such as Covid, there is a chance that the lungs may swell. Known as pneumonia, the symptoms of the condition can suddenly emerge within a 48-hour period. Experts at the NHS pointed out that pneumonia can lead to a phlegm-producing cough. Expect to see either thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus when you cough.
Breathing can become more laboured, which may be described as “rapid and shallow”; breathlessness might also occur during rest.
Other signs might include: a rapid heartbeat; a high temperature; feeling generally unwell; sweating and shivering; and a loss of appetite.
Chest pain might also develop, which tends to get worse when breathing or coughing.
Less common symptoms may include: headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, wheezing, joint and muscle pain, as well as confusion and disorientation.
People experiencing signs of pneumonia are encouraged to use the NHS 111 online service.
However, coughing up blood and difficulty breathing warrant a call to 999 for an ambulance.
Those most at risk of pneumonia include:
- Babies and very young children
- Elderly people
- People who smoke.
Certain health conditions can also increase the likelihood of developing pneumonia following a viral infection.
Such conditions can include asthma, cystic fibrosis, or a heart, kidney or liver condition.
Mild pneumonia can be treated at home by getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids.
However, for at-risk groups, pneumonia can be severe and may require hospital treatment.
“This is because it can lead to serious complications, which in some cases can be fatal, depending on a person’s health and age,” the NHS elaborated.
Possible complications of pneumonia can include pleurisy, a lung abscess, and blood poisoning.
To expand, pleurisy is when the thin lining between the lungs and ribcage becomes inflamed, leading to respiratory failure.
A lung abscess, on the other hand, is more likely to occur in those who have a history of severe alcohol misuse.
How to prevent pneumonia
One of the best ways to help mitigate the risk of developing pneumonia is to be a non-smoker.
This is because smoking damages the lungs and increases the risk of infection.
Another tip is to limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol misuse can weaken the lung’s natural defences against infection.
People at high risk of pneumonia are also advised by the health body to get the flu vaccine.
Right now, people can protect themselves against Covid by getting all of their Covid vaccinations, including the booster, and flu vaccination.
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