Pneumonia is an infectious disease of the lungs, it is very common in both children and adults. In some cases, it is resolved in the best way, without complications or long-term sequelae, but what happens when there are consequences that make the person’s health condition worse or have more risk due to pneumonia?
In this FastlyHealarticle, we will analyze the long-term sequelae that can remain after pneumonia , both in adults and children, as well as the care that is required after pneumonia and the symptoms that you may suffer if you suffer a relapse.
Table of Contents
Aftermath of pneumonia in adults
In medicine, a sequela is permanent or very long-lasting damage that occurs as a result of a disease. It is very important to differentiate it from a disease complication, in which a more serious problem occurs caused by a poor evolution of the initial disease or the treatment that was carried out, which requires new measures to solve it. If the problem is completely resolved, there will be no sequelae (that is, permanent damage), on the other hand, if it is not resolved properly or a complication arises, sequelae are likely to remain.
With this clear, we can understand that a sequela of pneumonia will be the damage that remains permanently or for a long time after the infection has already resolved. The patient will have recovered from the initial illness, probably, he will no longer have a fever, cough with secretions, poor general condition, but he may be left with other symptoms such as: shortness of breath, infections that are repeated over and over again, cough, among others .
Generally, in most people, pneumonia is caused by common microorganisms that, if the person is in good health, taking antibiotics and certain care will resolve itself in a good way, without complications or sequelae. However, in some cases complications or sequelae are more likely :
- In older people.
- A person who suffers from a chronic disease.
- The patient has low defenses.
- Someone suffering from malnutrition.
- Who suffers from alcoholism.
- If the patient smokes or has any previous lung damage.
- Surgery or traumatic accident recently.
- When the virus or bacteria that causes pneumonia is not the most common.
- If that microorganism is resistant to antimicrobials, that is, some medications no longer work for it and it can continue to live in the body of the patient until the appropriate antibiotic is found.
- If pneumonia is not diagnosed in time.
- Poor oral hygiene
Among the consequences of a poorly cured pneumonia (remember irreversible or very prolonged damage), are:
- If a pleural effusion occurs as a complication (that is, the accumulation of fluid in some layers that surround the lung), a pulmonary restriction can be generated , which generates great inflammation and fibrosis, losing the lung its normal capacity to enter air.
- Bronchiectasis : it is a dilation in the bronchi, which allows the accumulation of secretions.
- Scars may occur that condition lung function.
- Increased cardiovascular risk : it has been seen that in patients who have severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization, the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases in the future (1 to 10 years after having suffered pneumonia) may increase.
- In patients with severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization, it can cause death.
- Worsening of previous lung disease, especially in cases of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
- In diabetic patients, kidney and heart problems can appear.
Finally, it is very important to know that the prevention of pneumonia is in vaccination, especially in patients at risk. Consult your trusted doctor to find out if you should be vaccinated for your condition.
Aftermath of pneumonia in children
In general, pneumonia also heals well in children, it is usually a disease caused by viruses. There are some cases in which a sequel is more likely to remain:
- Very young children (infants less than 6 months old).
- Those with a chronic disease, low defenses or malnourished.
- Superinfection with bacteria.
In these cases and some others, sequelae may occur, that is, permanent or very prolonged damage to the respiratory system over time. Among the sequelae that children with pneumonia may suffer are:
- Bronchial hyperresponsiveness : this is the greater possibility of suffering bronchospasm when exposed to different elements of the environment or food that perhaps would not harm another child without problems.
- Obliterative bronchiolitis – narrowing of the narrowest part of the lungs (bronchioles).
- Bronchiectasis : it is a dilation of the bronchi.
- Damage to lung tissue : that is, lesions such as scars or pockets (bronchiectasis) where mucus can accumulate.
- Hypersecretion : it is the production of mucus in large quantities due to the fact that the lung is altered in its structure and more sensitive to irritants.
- In addition, it is the first cause of infant mortality in cases of severe pneumonia, generally in children with associated diseases, malnutrition or who are not treated in time.
This can turn into a vicious cycle, since the aftermath of pneumonia can cause superinfections to be frequent and generate more inflammation, which will lead to more damage to the lungs and so on.
All this also becomes more likely and more difficult to solve when the child is a heavy consumer of milk of animal origin (not from his mother) or of formulas that simulate milk, when flours are part of his diet or sugar is added to Their aliments. Scientific studies have shown that, above all, two substances: milk and gluten are inflammatory, mucus-generating and predispose to bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Therefore, it is convenient to accompany the child’s recovery with raw fruits and vegetables, almond or seed milk, always adapting this to his age.
Care after pneumonia
As we have said, most patients who have suffered from common pneumonia do not present complications or sequelae, however, you may notice that the first two weeks there will still not be enough strength, there may be some coughing or loss of appetite. The most important thing is to listen to the body’s needs for rest, sleep and the need for food or not.
- As for coughing, it is important not to self-medicate syrups or cough suppressants , if the body needs to eliminate mucus through coughing, help it, do not stop it, it is self-healing. You can help him with: steam inhalations (with eucalyptus leaves is even better), drinking enough water (not drinks with sugar, sweeteners or alcohol), drinking eucalyptus and citrus infusions.
- Another way to help your body is through food , if the body does not have to dedicate its energy to metabolize toxic foods, it will recover faster: it prefers raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, fermented and seeds. Avoid wheat flour and dairy: they generate inflammation and more mucus, meats and processed foods will only contribute to the weakening of the body, since it takes a lot of effort to undo them or eliminate toxins.
- Don’t smoke , it’s a great opportunity to quit. Smoking not only damages your lungs, it also damages the rest of your body. And it demands that no one do it inside the home, since not only the one who smokes suffers the consequences, but those who are close to him as well.
- Try to regain the ability to breathe in the lungs, do it little by little, try inhaling or having your child inhale deeply about 2 to 3 times per hour , holding that air, then releasing it very slowly.
- Follow the treatment that your doctor has indicated and, if you have doubts, return to your consultation.
Symptoms of a pneumonia relapse
There are some symptoms that you should pay attention to after having suffered pneumonia and if you notice them or have doubts, consult your doctor, as they may indicate that you have not been completely cured. Among the symptoms of a relapse they are:
- High fever, chills, severe body or head pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- You can’t take a deep breath, you do it too fast, or you have to lean forward to do it.
- Your fingertips turn blue.
- Your chest or back hurts.
- The mucus is bloody or has turned dark.
- You or your family notice that you are disoriented, lost, or too sleepy.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to What are the consequences after pneumonia? , we recommend that you enter our category of Lung and respiratory tract .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.