Pneumonia : Types, Symptoms, Stages, Causes, Complications and Treatment

Pneumonia is an infectious disease occurring as a result of infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. This condition causes inflammation of the lungs. Additionally, the lungs also get filled up with pus. Pneumonia is characterized by symptoms such as fever, trouble breathing, coughing, production of yellow, green or brown-colored mucus, etc. Based on the cause of pneumonia, the treatment approach will differ. 

In this blog, we will learn about pneumonia, its types, symptoms, stages, causes, risk factors, complications, prevention, and diagnosis. We will also learn in detail about the various treatments available in homeopathy to treat pneumonia. So, please keep reading.

Pneumonia Definition: 

Pneumonia is an infectious condition that causes inflammation and build-up of fluid or pus in the lungs. This condition occurs due to infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. As a result of pneumonia, the patient experiences fever, breathing difficulties, and cough with mucus. It is essential to note that both bacterial and viral pneumonia are contagious, meaning they can get transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person through the droplets released in the air while sneezing or coughing. 

Prevalence of pneumonia: 

According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia is responsible for about 14% of all deaths in children under the age of 5.  In 2019, 740 180 child lives were lost to pneumonia. Additionally, 22% of deaths due to pneumonia occurred in children aged between 1 to 5 years. 

Transmission of Pneumonia:

Pneumonia is a disease that can spread through many ways. It can spread through air-borne droplets that are released in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be transmitted from the mother to the child during and right after birth. 

Risk factors of Pneumonia:

In most cases, children can fight infections through their immunity power. However, children with weak immunity are at a high risk of catching pneumonia infection. Malnutrition can make the immune system weak. Additionally, children who already have pre-existing problems like HIV infection also belong to the high-risk group. 

Certain environmental factors like parental smoking, excessive indoor pollution, and living in crowded areas can also increase the risk of catching pneumonia. 

Prognosis of Pneumonia:

Pneumonia and its prognosis may differ from one patient to another. While some patients may recover within a week, some may take more than a month or longer to recover. The prognosis of pneumonia depends on the care taken during the infection, along with the adherence to the doctor’s advice. Additionally, the prognosis also depends on the age of the patient, the severity and type of pneumonia, and the overall health of the patient.

According to recent studies, the prognosis of pneumonia is good in patients who are otherwise healthy. Patients infected with pneumonia who are aged below 4 years or more than 60 years have a poorer prognosis when compared to young patients. 

Types of Pneumonia: 

Pneumonia and its types are typically categorized based on its causes (viral, bacterial, and fungal infection) and how the patient acquired it. Based on this, the types of pneumonia include, 

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP):

Community-acquired pneumonia refers to the type of pneumonia that the patient catches outside a healthcare facility, such as a clinic or hospital. 

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP):

Hospital acquired pneumonia refers to the pneumonia that a patient acquires while admitted to a healthcare facility such as a hospital for getting treatment for another condition or a procedure. This type of hospital-acquired pneumonia is usually more severe compared to community-acquired pneumonia and is more difficult to treat as the patient’s condition is severe. This type of pneumonia is usually caused by to effect of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP):

This type of pneumonia is usually acquired when a patient with breathing difficulty needs to be put on a ventilator (breathing machine or a respirator). Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) resembles hospital-acquired pneumonia and community-acquired pneumonia.

Healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP):

Healthcare-associated pneumonia is a type of pneumonia infection that occurs when a person has a prolonged stay at a healthcare facility or a hospital; for example, this type of pneumonia can affect people working in hospitals. 

Aspiration pneumonia:

Aspiration occurs when spit, food, liquid, or vomit goes down the windpipe and into the lungs. If not expelled, these substances can eventually lead to lung infections. 

Stages of pneumonia: 

Pneumonia infections are classified based on how it is acquired and can be categorized into 4 stages. These 4 stages of pneumonia are from early symptoms to the recovery period. Each stage of the disease describes how the condition progresses with time. 

First Stage of pneumonia

Stage 1- Congestion:

In most cases, congestion occurs within 24 hours of the infection. In some instances, pneumonia may begin suddenly or occur slowly. In the congestion stage, the tiny air sacs, called alveoli, found in the lungs, along with the tiny blood vessels near the lungs, get filled with fluid (congested) due to inflammation. Congestion is characterized by the presence of symptoms such as, 

  • Chest pain
  • Wet cough
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Rise in body temperature
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue 
  • Chills 
  • Headache 

Second Stage of pneumonia

Stage 2- Red Hepatization: Stage 2 of pneumonia occurs 2-3 days after the infection has developed. In these stages, the pneumonia symptoms become worse, and the immune cells, along with the red blood cells, begin fighting the infection in the alveoli and lungs. This stage is called red hepatization, where the red blood cells fill up the lungs. Additionally, decreased levels of oxygen also lead to a dry and firm texture in the lungs, making it resemble a liver. Thus, the term hepatization is used to describe this stage. Red hepatization is characterized by severe symptoms, even if the patient is being treated. These symptoms include,

  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Chronic shortness of breath 
  • Fever with chills and tremors 
  • Coughing with thick yellow or green or bloody phlegm 
  • Headache 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Bluish discoloration on the skin, lips, and finger (cyanosis)

Third Stage of pneumonia

Stage 3- Grey Hepatization: The stage 3 of pneumonia begins 4-6 days after the infection develops. In this stage, the red blood cells start breaking up, giving a greyish-brown or yellow color to the lungs. As a result, the lungs dry up further, resembling the liver more, thus getting its name, grey hepatization. In this stage, the symptoms from stage 2 will persist. Additionally, the patient may also require mechanical ventilation or oxygen therapy due to troubled breathing. 

Last Stage of pneumonia

Stage 4- Resolution: This is the last stage of pneumonia. This stage develops about 8 days after the infection. This stage includes infection resolution and restoration of the normal alveoli and airways. In this stage, the immune systems begin repairing the lungs. This involves the secretion of enzymes that help degrade the injured lung tissue, allowing its reabsorption. A type of cells called macrophages begin to migrate through the lungs for phagocytosis (eating) the debris along with the white blood cells containing bacteria. As the lung debris is being cleared, cough with sputum will be present in this stage. 

Causes of pneumonia:

Pneumonia occurs when a person is infected with a virus, bacteria or fungus. The microorganism enters the lungs in the body, the body’s immune system gets activated and starts attacking the foreign being. As a result, the alveoli in the lungs get inflamed, swell and get filled up with fluids like pus. This ultimately leads to pneumonia symptoms. The various causes of pneumonia include,

Bacterial pneumonia:

One of the most common causes of pneumonia is a bacterial infection. There are various types of bacteria that can lead to pneumonia, but the most common one is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Bacterial pneumonia manifests when the body of the infected patient is weak due to an existing condition, old age, weakened immune system or poor lifestyle. While bacterial pneumonia can affect anyone, people who smoke, consume high amounts of alcohol, have undergone surgery, have a viral infection, have weak immunity or have a respiratory problem are at high risk. Some other bacteria that can cause pneumonia also include,

  • Haemophilus influenza
  • Legionella pneumophila 
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Viral pneumonia:

A person infected by a respiratory virus is often prone to getting viral pneumonia. Various viruses and their infections can cause pneumonia. It is also of the most common causes of pneumonia in children aged below 5 years. Additionally, patients infected by viral pneumonia are also at risk of getting bacterial pneumonia. Some common viral infections that can cause viral pneumonia include the following, 

  • Varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Common cold virus (rhinovirus)
  • Adenovirus infection 
  • Human parainfluenza virus (HPIV) 
  • Measles 
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Coronavirus infection
  • HMPV (human metapneumovirus) infection 

Fungal pneumonia:

Fungal pneumonia is common in people who have a weakened immune system and severe heart conditions. Typically, fungi pneumonia spreads from fungi found in bird droppings or soil. Some examples of fungi causing fungal pneumonia include:

  • Histoplasmosis 
  • Pneumocystis jirovecii
  • Cryptococcus

Causes of pneumonia in children:

Pneumonia infection in children may occur due to various microorganisms. The most common microorganisms causing pneumonia in children include the following, 

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia 
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Pertussis
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia

Causes of pneumonia in adults

While pneumonia in adults can occur due to various causes, the most common reasons for adult pneumonia include the following, 

  • Influenza virus (the flu)
  • Common cold infection (rhinovirus)
  • SARS-CoV-2

Risks of pneumonia: 

Pneumonia can happen to anyone. However, some people are at a higher risk than others. People belonging to the high-risk group include the following,

  • Infants from birth to 2 years of age.
  • People age 65 and above. 
  • A person who is hospitalized, especially those on a ventilator. 
  • People who smoke are at high pneumonia risk as they have weak immunity, and smoke makes it difficult for their bodies to remove mucus stuck in their airways. 
  • People with a weakened immune system. 
  • Patients who have chronic diseases such as heart problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sickle cell disease, diabetes, liver problems, cystic fibrosis, kidney diseases, and asthma. 
  • Patients are taking medications such as immunosuppressants and cancer medications.
  • People who have been exposed to toxic fumes or chemicals that can irritate the lungs. 
  • People who are heavy drinkers of alcohol as they have a weak immune system. 

Signs and symptoms of pneumonia: 

Pneumonia symptoms may differ depending on its cause, the age of the patient and their overall health. Additionally, Infants, young children, adults, and geriatric patients may experience different symptoms. These pneumonia symptoms can range from mild symptoms to severe symptoms (life-threatening). The symptoms of bacterial and viral pneumonia resemble each other. However, symptoms of viral pneumonia are milder compared to bacterial.

Symptoms of pneumonia in babies:

Symptoms of pneumonia in newborns and babies may not be prominent in certain cases. However, in some cases, newborns and babies may show the following pneumonia symptoms, 

  • Fever and Chills 
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling restless 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Cough 
  • Chest pain 
  • Breathing rapidly 
  • Crying more than usual 
  • Feeding issues 
  • A grunting sound while breathing 
  • Less wet diapers 

Pneumonia symptoms in adults

Symptoms of pneumonia in adults may range from mild to severe. In the case of adults aged 65 and above with weakened immune systems, pneumonia symptoms may be mild (such as breathlessness or cough) and not very prominent. In general, symptoms of pneumonia in adults may include, 

  • Cough with mucus production 
  • Fever 
  • Sweating and chills 
  • Pain in the chest that keeps worsening while breathing 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Changes in mental state, such as confusion 

Signs and Symptoms of Viral pneumonia

The viral pneumonia signs and symptoms resemble those of the flu. These symptoms take several days to show up and worsen within a day or two.

The common symptoms of viral pneumonia include, 

  • Dry cough 
  • Headache 
  • Fever and chills 
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Pain in the muscles 

Signs and Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is one of the most commonly occurring forms of pneumonia. The bacterial pneumonia symptoms typically require medical attention as they are more serious than other forms. Additionally, the bacterial pneumonia symptoms may show up suddenly or take a gradual time to appear.

Signs and symptoms indicating bacterial pneumonia include the following,

  • High fever that may go up to 105 degrees F
  • Rapid heart beats 
  • Profuse sweating 
  • Chills 
  • Pain in the chest and abdomen, especially while breathing deeply or coughing 
  • Fatigue 
  • Cough with mucus that is colored yellow, green or blood-like
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Bluish discoloration on the skin, lips, and nails (cyanosis)
  • Rapid breathing 

Complications of pneumonia: 

Pneumonia, if not promptly treated on time, can lead to severe complications; some cases may even require the patient to get hospitalized. Additionally, in certain cases, patients who are at high risk may also experience complications, even if they belong to the high-risk group. The various complications of pneumonia include:

  • Bacteremia: Due to pneumonia, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs. This can cause organ failure or sepsis.
  • Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can cause severe issues in breathing if it becomes chronic or if the patient has any other condition. In some cases, the patient may also require hospitalization. 
  • Abscess in the lung: When pus forms in the lung cavity, an abscess can occur. In some cases, surgery may be needed to drain the pus.
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS): In certain instances of pneumonia, the patient may experience ARDS, which is a chronic form of respiratory failure.
  • Worsening of underlying conditions: In patients with existing underlying conditions such as emphysema or congestive heart failure, pneumonia can worsen the problem. 
  • Fluid around the lungs: When pneumonia is not treated on time, it can lead to the build-up of fluid in the pleura in the lungs. This condition is called pleural effusion. 
  • Damage to vital organs: Organs such as the liver, heart, and kidney may get damaged due to lack of oxygen or as a result of an overactive immune system in response to an infection. 

Pneumonia diagnosis:

In some cases, it may be challenging to diagnose pneumonia, as its symptoms resemble those of other conditions such as influenza or common cold. To diagnose pneumonia, a doctor will conduct several tests. These diagnostic tests include,

  • Medical history examination 
  • Physical examination 
  • Blood and sputum tests
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Imaging tests such as CT scans and chest X-rays
  • Pleural fluid culture
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Arterial blood gas test

Pneumonia prevention: 

One of the best approaches to prevent pneumonia is to get vaccinated against viruses and bacteria. Vaccinations make sure you have a good immunity to fight off the microorganisms. To prevent pneumonia, ask a healthcare provider about the various vaccinations to be taken. Apart from immunization, various other approaches to prevent and reduce the risk of pneumonia include the following,

  • Avoid or quit smoking as it makes you more prone to catching respiratory infections. 
  • Avoid coming in contact with secondhand smoke, chemicals emitted from industries, etc, as they can damage the lungs. 
  • Maintain adequate personal hygiene. Wash or sanitize your hands properly with soap and water before and after eating, handling food items, and using the toilet. 
  • Avoid coming in contact with people infected with contagious infections such as COVID-19, cold or flu. Do not share any personal items of people having infectious diseases. 
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet along with adequate physical activity and sleep every day to strengthen your body and immune system.
  • Avoid heavy alcohol consumption. 
  • Get proper treatment for any infection or health condition you may have. 

Pneumonia homeopathy treatment

Pneumonia is a serious disease. When not attended to on time with medical interventions, pneumonia can give rise to serious complications and even become life-threatening. Conventional methods of treating pneumonia include antibiotics, antiviral medications, and antifungals. Additionally, over-the-counter medicines (OTC)  may also be good for reducing symptoms like muscle pain and fever. While various conventional medical treatments are good for pneumonia, they may have certain side effects on the body. Homeopathic treatment for pneumonia offers best treatment options to fight the disease holistically. Homeopathic treatments for pneumonia offer symptomatic relief to the patients and help relieve the inflammation in the alveoli and lungs. 

If you are a patient with pneumonia and are considering homeopathic treatment for it, then it is best advised to seek help from a homeopathic doctor. Your homeopathic doctor will examine you, diagnose the cause of your condition, and provide the best treatment needed to help you with your condition. 

At Dr. Care homeopathy clinic, our team of well-trained homeopathic doctors provides the best treatments for pneumonia. To give accurate treatment and care, our specialists will first check your medical history and do a thorough physical examination. They will also ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing and then order the diagnostic tests. Depending on the cause of pneumonia, they will prescribe the right treatment plan to you. 

When should I see a homeopath with pneumonia?

It is important to see a homeopath immediately if you are older than 65 years of age, have an underlying health issue or weak immunity, or are taking any medications that cause immunosuppression. In the case of children below the age of two, seeking medical attention is essential as they belong to the high-risk group. In addition to this, see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms, 

  • Persistent high temperature of 102-degree F or more
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficult in breathing 
  • Constant coughing with pus 
  • A persistent loss of appetite 

Home remedies for pneumonia

Home remedies can help alleviate a few symptoms of pneumonia. While home remedies can come in handy for certain symptoms, it is essential to note that pneumonia is a serious health condition that needs to be attended to through medical intervention. Home remedies cannot cure pneumonia. Also, home remedies can only help manage and relieve some of its symptoms. 

These home remedies can help relieve symptoms like chest pain, cough, fever, etc. The various pneumonia home remedies include the following:

  1. Saltwater gargle: Using salt water to gargle can soothe the throat pain and remove some mucus from the throat. This helps relieve irritation due to coughing. 
  2. Increasing fluid intake: Drinking warm herbal teas, soups and lots of water is essential to remove mucus from the throat and lungs. Increasing fluid intake also ensures optimum hydration, relieves cough and helps feel energetic. 
  3. Add Humidifiers: A humidifier helps keep the air moist and relieves a blocked nose. It also helps ease up irritation in the nose and throat. Adding a humidifier helps with lubricating the throat and nose to prevent cough and makes it easier for the patient to breathe.
  4. Add curcumin: Curcumin is known to have antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Adding a cup of warm turmeric tea can help the body fight against the microorganism causing pneumonia, feel fresh and relieve throat pain.
  5. Include teas in your routine: Adding herbal teas such as peppermint tea, ginger tea, fenugreek tea, etc, can help with cold cough and relieve scratchy throat.


Pneumonia is a chronic health condition that can become life-threatening. Seeking medical attention on time is essential to prevent complications of pneumonia, fight the disease, and improve the overall quality of the patient’s life. Homeopathic treatment for pneumonia is beneficial in treating the condition and relieving its symptoms. At Dr.Care homeopathy clinic, we have a team of expert homeopathic doctors with years of experience in treating various conditions, including pneumonia. Our homeopathic experts provide the best-personalised solutions to ensure your quality of life is improved. For more details on homeopathic treatment for pneumonia, visit our website and get in touch with us today. 

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