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What is Bronchopneumonia?

By Mary Ellen Popolo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By anon994258 — On Jan 27, 2016

My mum died recently and her death certiificate gave bronchopneumonia and COPD as the cause of death. She had been extremely tired for a couple of weeks, feverish for a couple of days and the doctor came and gave her some antibiotics and steroids, because of her long standing COPD more than anything else. The odd thing was she didn't have much of a cough and no mucus but her breathing became very bad all at once, she couldn't move without getting out of breath and passed away about two weeks later. She was old and frail and I think her heart gave out in the end. I just don't understand the bronchopneumonia diagnosis with barely a cough?

By anon340240 — On Jul 01, 2013

My 19 month old son has been diagnosed with this. Please pray for his recovery.

By anon314459 — On Jan 18, 2013

My sister had a sore throat which was treated with penicillin for 10 days, the sore throat took about 13 days to get better. My sister died in her sleep of bronchopneumonia within two weeks of finishing the antibiotics. This was found at post mortem. I miss her so much. I love her so much --to infinity and beyond.

By Oceana — On Jan 06, 2013

Rest is so important when you have bronchopneumonia. When I had it, I felt like I just couldn't take time off work, but I wound up so fatigued and ill that I had to take even more time off than I would have otherwise.

Your body will tell you when it needs rest. If you don't listen, then it will stop and refuse to let you do anything else.

By orangey03 — On Jan 05, 2013

@StarJo – Go to the doctor as soon as possible. If you wait, you are only prolonging your misery.

I had an upper respiratory infection that resembled a cold for a few weeks, and I waited about a week after it went into my chest to seek treatment. By the time I got to my doctor, I could barely breathe without having a coughing fit, and I honestly felt like I needed to be hospitalized. I was suffocating, especially at night.

I had a bacterial infection that my body just could not fight off without help. It had turned into acute bronchopneumonia.

After about two weeks on medication, my cough had subsided a lot. It didn't go away fully for months, though.

By StarJo — On Jan 05, 2013

I've had what seems like a cold for about three weeks, and now, it has gone down into my chest. I have a low fever and I've been coughing up phlegm a lot.

I want to wait it out and see if I get better, but my mother says that these are symptoms of pneumonia, and if I don't see a doctor now, it could turn into full blown pneumonia. Is there anything I can take at home to stop this from happening, or am I going to have to see my doctor?

By DylanB — On Jan 04, 2013

Many years ago, I had these bronchopneumonia symptoms about once every other year. I ate a poor diet and was stressed out a lot, so my immune system wasn't very strong.

Now, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and I think that has helped my body fight off bacteria. I haven't had bronchopneumonia or anything like it in ten years, and that's about how long I've been eating well.

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