One of the possible complications of mononucleosis is Pneumonia. It is a rare complication, but if contracted, it can lengthen the period of illness.  

It is a common illness, but without the appropriate treatment can be serious. Pneumonia occurs when there is an infection or inflammation of the lung tissue. It can have many causes - viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

What are the symptoms of Pneumonia?

The symptoms vary, depending on the type and cause of pneumonia. The following are general guidelines. If you are suffering from a cold and appear to have some of the symptoms below, medical help should be sought.

Bacterial pneumonia - commonly starts with cold symptoms, high fever (up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and shivering.

Coughing - initially the cough might be dry, then progressing to a cough with phlegm production. This phlegm is usually discoloured and sometimes bloody.

Chest pain - pain felt in the chest area when breathing in is a sign of inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the lung. It is known as pleuritic pain.

Other types of pneumonia can cause a more gradual onset of symptoms. Some people have headaches, muscle pain and a worsening cough as their only indication of pneumonia. If the infection is located far from the larger airways, coughing may not even be a major symptom.

Who is at risk of pneumonia?

  • Children, especially those suffering from chronic illness
  • Chronically ill
  • People with weak immune systems
  • The weak and the elderly
  • People who have had their spleen removed

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

The doctor will ask you questions about your illness, and examine your chest using a stethoscope. Sounds such as creaking and bubbling when you breathe in can be an indication of pneumonia.

X-rays of the lungs are often used to diagnose pneumonia and find out how serious it is. Severe cases usually require hospital admission.

Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. Other treatments such as chest physiotherapy and oxygen are used in more serious cases.

How can it be prevented?

A pneumococcal vaccine is now offered to protect against the most common kind of pneumonia. The vaccine is given to children in three doses - at age, 2, 4 and 13 months. The vaccine is also available to those at risk, such as the elderly, sufferers of chronic disease or impaired immune systems.

Is pneumonia serious?

The seriousness of pneumonia depends on who catches it, the type of bacteria it involves and the level of appropriate treatment. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death amongst the elderly and the terminally ill.

Repeated cases of pneumonia without an obvious cause can be an indication of a more serious disease, such as lung cancer.









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