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General Practice 2023

Bronchopneumonia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Bronchopneumonia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Bronchopneumonia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Bronchopneumonia is inflammation of the internal structures of the lung, the bronchi and pulmonary alveoli, and can be restricted to these structures or affect the lung as a whole, including the pleura, which is the membrane that surrounds the lung.

The bronchi correspond to the way through which air enters the lungs. Thus, when there is inflammation in this structure, air cannot easily enter the lungs and, therefore, it is very common to develop symptoms such as intense shortness of breath, pale skin, bluish lips and a very easy feeling of tiredness.

In the presence of signs and symptoms of bronchopneumonia, it is important that the pulmonologist or general practitioner is consulted, as it is possible to identify the cause of the inflammation and initiate the most appropriate treatment, which may involve the use of antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Symptoms of bronchopneumonia

The symptoms of bronchopneumonia can be similar to those of other respiratory diseases, especially the flu, the most common being:

  • Fever above 38 ÂșC;
  • Difficulty breathing and feeling short of breath;
  • Tiredness;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Chills and cold sweat;
  • Cough with phlegm;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Blue lips and fingertips.

In the case of babies, in addition to fever, bronchopneumonia may have symptoms of lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping, easy irritability and noisy and rapid breathing. Bronchopneumonia in babies is very common, as their immune system is still poorly developed, which facilitates the development of bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause this type of infection.As soon as the first symptoms appear, it is important to consult the pediatrician as soon as possible to prevent the disease from getting worse.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The symptoms of bronchopneumonia can be quite similar to those of the flu and, therefore, it is important that the general practitioner, pediatrician or pulmonologist is consulted for an assessment of symptoms and tests to confirm bronchopneumonia.

In addition to the evaluation of symptoms and pulmonary auscultation with the stethoscope, the doctor may order other tests such as chest X-ray, blood tests, computed tomography or bronchoscopy, which is an exam performed with the aim of evaluating the airways, identifying signs of inflammation, for example. See more details about bronchoscopy.

Main causes

Bronchopneumonia is mainly caused by microorganisms, being more frequently associated with bacterial infections, mainly by Staphylococcus sp., Streptococcus sp. and Haemophilus influenzae. However, it can also be a consequence of a virus or fungal infection, in which case it is more frequent in people with a weakened immune system.

In addition, bronchopneumonia can be a consequence of respiratory diseases not treated properly, such as influenza, COVID-19 or visceral leishmaniasis, for example, in which the infectious agent is not completely eliminated, remaining in the airways and resulting in in bronchopneumonia.

This inflammation can also be a consequence of bronchoaspiration or an acute or chronic bronchitis that affects the larynx and trachea.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for bronchopneumonia may vary according to the cause of the inflammation, and the use of antibiotic drugs, such as Ceftriaxone or Azithromycin, in case the inflammation is related to bacteria, or anti-inflammatory drugs may be indicated.In addition, the general practitioner or pulmonologist may also recommend the use of cough relief and calming medication or a liquid diet to prevent dehydration.

Usually, the treatment lasts an average of 14 days and during this time it is recommended to take other precautions such as:

  • Rest and avoid making efforts;
  • Avoid sudden temperature changes for correct recovery;
  • Drink at least 2 liters of water;
  • Make regular nebulizations with saline or medications;
  • Avoid smoking or going to smoky places.

In addition, to prevent the transmission of the disease, you should also cover your mouth to cough, wash your hands regularly and avoid going to public and closed places.

In more severe cases, bronchopneumonia can lead to hospitalization, where it may be necessary to receive oxygen, give antibiotic injections and perform respiratory physiotherapy, which helps to free the airways. Understand how respiratory physiotherapy is performed.

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