The article was consulted professionally by Specialist I Huynh Kim Long – Emergency Resuscitation Doctor – Emergency Resuscitation Department – Share99 Da Nang International Health Hub.
Influenza A virus is a common cause of pneumonia in adults. The influenza virus enters the lungs and causes the lungs to swell, blocking the flow of oxygen. Many cases of viral pneumonia can cure themselves within weeks but there are serious, life-threatening cases.
1. What is viral pneumonia?
Severe pneumonia caused by influenza A virus is a viral lung infection. The most common cause is influenza A, but patients can also suffer from pneumonia due to many other causes such as bacteria, fungi.
Influenza A viruses usually adhere to the upper part of the respiratory system, but pathology begins when they go down the patient's lungs. Then the alveoli in the lungs become infected and inflamed, containing a lot of fluid.
Viral pneumonia can be serious and sometimes fatal. The virus enters the lungs and causes to grow; however, most patients do not show signs of fluid-filled lung tissue.
This pneumonia is most severe in people with pre-20s heart or lung disease, immuno-impaired patients, pregnant women, etc. Viral pneumonia can be complicated when bacteria continue to enter after the virus has caused pneumonia, with typical symptoms of bacterial pneumonia.
Severe influenza A pneumonia is defined as severe lung damage caused by influenza A virus with a rapid rate of disease progress.
2. Symptoms of severe pneumonia
Symptoms of severe viral pneumonia are as follows:
- At first dry cough, then cough with yellow or blue phlegm
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Eat out of appetite
- Severe chest pain or throbbing pain, especially when coughing or deep breathing
- Sweating a lot
- Rapid breathing and tachycardia
- Blue lips and nails
Viral pneumonia manifests it differently in each age group. Young children with viral pneumonia tend to have mild early symptoms but gradually deteriorate. Children with viral pneumonia can wheezing and blue-violet skin and lips due to lack of oxygen. Adults over the age of 65 may have symptoms of abnormally low body temperature, confusion and dizziness.
3. Who has a risk factor for pneumonia?
Viral pneumonia can affect anyone, as influenza A virus is highly contagious. However, patients are at higher risk for viral pneumonia if the following factors are available:
- People over 65;
- Children 2 years and younger;
- Live in crowded environments such as nursing homes, prisons, or dormitories;
- People working in hospitals or nursing homes;
- People with certain chronic conditions such as heart, respiratory or autoimed disease;
- People with a vulnerable immune system, such as those with cancer or HIV virus infection;
- The new person recovers from a viral infection.
4. Diagnosis of severe influenza A virus pneumonia
To diagnose severe pneumonia caused by influenza A virus, the doctor first examines the overall and asks the patient about the current symptoms. The doctor will then listen to the patient's lungs with a hearing tube to detect sounds caused by damage in the lungs. But if the doctor is unsure, the patient may need a chest X-ray.
In addition, patients need to perform a number of tests such as:
- Measure blood oxygen levels;
- Sputum test;
- CT scan to take a closer look at lung lesions;
- Pleural culture;
- Nasal examination to check if the pathogen is influenza A virus;
- A full blood count (CBC) to detect inflammation;
- Blood cultures.
5. Treatment of severe influenza A virus pneumonia
When dealing with severe pneumonia caused by influenza A virus, the doctor will not prescribe antibiotics in case of viral pneumonia, as antibiotics do not kill the virus. Usually, for the treatment of viral pneumonia the doctor will use antiviral drugs, analgesic and antipyretic drugs.
Due to severe pneumonia caused by influenza A virus, it is imperative that the patient be treated at the hospital. Depending on the patient's condition, the doctor may perform some additional treatments as follows:
- Oxygen breathing penetrates or does not penetrate
- Treatment with antibiotics if there is a second bacterial infection
- Establish intravenous lines to bring the drug into the body
- Set the central vein catheter to compensate for the epidemic
Dr Huynh Kim Long has extensive experience in the treatment of Resuscitation – Emergency and Emergency Stroke in adults. Dr Long worked at the Emergency Department of C Da Nang Health Hub before working at Share99 Da Nang International Health Hub as it is today
Severe pneumonia caused by influenza A virus progresses very quickly and causes severe damage to the lungs. As soon as there are manifestations of the disease, the patient needs to go to the hospital for early examination and treatment so as not to experience serious complications. To register for examination and treatment at Share99 International Health Hub, you can contact the Hotline of Share99 Health System nationwide, or register for an online examination HERE.
Reference source: webmd.com; healthline.com
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