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Bronchopneumonia is one of several different types of pneumonia. It is an acute inflammation of the lungs and the bronchioles, usually as a result of the spread of infection from the upper to the lower respiratory tract. Although bronchopneumonia is similar to ordinary pneumonia, it can be more severe, requiring different medical attention and treatment. This form of pneumonia is also known as bronchial pneumonia, or bronchogenic pneumonia.
Bronchopneumonia is transmitted through bacteria and occurs when bacteria enters the lungs. Hemophilus influenza, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the most common types of bacteria that cause bronchial pneumonia. When bacteria infects the pulmonary lobes, the lungs produce mucus that fills the alveolar sacs. In turn, this causes a condition known as consolidation which occurs when the lungs fill with mucus, reducing air space. The reduction in air space makes breathing difficult causing shortness of breath and labored or shallow breathing.
Some of the symptoms include fever and chills, cough, chest pain and fatigue. The patient may cough up mucus that is blood streaked or yellow sputum as well. A physician will diagnose bronchopneumonia by using a stethoscope to listen to the patient's breathing. In some cases a chest x-ray, complete blood count or sputum culture test will also be performed for diagnosis.
Since bronchopneumonia is a bacterial infection, antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or erythromycin aid in recovery. In addition to taking prescribed antibiotics, a patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest. Hospitalization is usually not required unless the symptoms are severe or there are other complications such as age or underlying health issues.
When patients adhere to the doctor's treatment plan, bronchopneumoia usually clears up in four to six weeks, though individual cases vary depending on the severity of the infection, patient's age and overall health. Patients may begin to feel better as soon as three or four days after beginning treatment, but they should follow the doctor's orders for resuming normal activities and work schedules.
The best way to prevent bronchopneumoia is frequent hand-washing, with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom or being in public places. Hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water aren't available. Quitting smoking will also help reduce the risk of catching pneumonia, and a healthy diet and adequate sleep will keep the immune system strong, which will aide in fighting off the germs and bacteria that cause pneumonia.