What Is Double Pneumonia? 11 Terrifying Symptoms

Double pneumonia is a form of pneumonia that can affect people of any age group. To understand double pneumonia, we must first understand what pneumonia is. Pneumonia is an infectious lung disease caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. It is usually caused due to Streptococcus pneumonia1, a common bacteria.

A person with pneumonia is often relieved within a few days or sometimes weeks if diagnosed and treated appropriately.  

There are multiple forms of pneumonia, namely, Bronchial pneumonia, lobar pneumonia, and so on. Most pneumonia can be avoided with the help of a vaccine. Pneumococcal vaccination is medically reviewed and works best on all age groups.

In case you have a family history and are predisposed to this medical condition, it is often advised to get yourself vaccinated to prevent the disease. There is a higher risk of acquiring it when you have a family history.

Pneumonia is a disease that, when not treated immediately, can be life-threatening, so do not take your family’s medical history lightly.

1. Lungs and Their Structure

Every individual in his or her normal functioning state has two functioning lungs. Lungs are responsible for respiration, making sure that we breathe freely and easily. They are our primary gas exchange organs where oxygen from the inhaled air enters the lungs, and the rest is passed out of the body.

It is also responsible for collecting carbo-di-oxide and releasing it out of the body. This function is essential as its absence could potentially lead to toxic complications in the body. 

The lungs are divided into several lobes on each side. The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two. It is hence also natural that the right lung is larger than the left. These lungs are located in the thoracic cavity, and each lobule of the lungs has a bronchiole 2which further has branches.

Alveoli, on the other hand, are tiny air sacs that are present at the end of these bronchioles and are responsible for the exchange of air.

2. What Is Double Pneumonia?

Double pneumonia refers to the inflammation of an individual’s lungs where the tiny air sacs, known as alveoli, are filled with fluids that make it hard for the individual to breathe.

A viral infection prevents the body from processing and transferring oxygen between air and blood. As both lungs are affected in this condition, one may find breathing really hard. 

The symptoms of double pneumonia are not very different from those of pneumonia.

3. Symptoms of Double Pneumonia

Symptoms of double pneumonia are not very different from that of the symptoms of pneumonia. 

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Chest Pain
  3. Cough
  4. Production of thick phlegm
  5. Runny nose
  6. Sore throat
  7. Fatigue
  8. High fever or chills
  9. Muscle ache
  10. Nausea
  11. Vomiting

4. Transmission of Double Pneumonia

4.1. Direct Contact

Pneumonia is a viral infection, and hence coming in direct contact with a person who carries the bacteria might result in you being affected by it. Therefore, it is essential to stay away from people affected by it, and it is also essential to not use their personal products.

It is often best advised to provide separate towels, plates, spoons, water bottles, and so on in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Even if not for pneumonia, it is always a safe and wise option to not share personal belongings related to health and basic hygiene, such as towels, brushes, scrubbers, nail cutters, and other such items.

Bacteria continue to remain on surfaces for a few hours. Hence one must be careful and wash their hands at reasonable intervals. 

4.2. Airborne

Pathogenic pathogens 3carry themselves in the air through body droplets such as saliva. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the microorganisms are carried through these droplets, and one can easily be infected in the surroundings.

Hence, one might get infected in hospitals, churches, bus stations, gas stations, public parks, or any other potential public place. Keep yourself covered, and wear masks to protect yourself and others around you. 

double pneumonia
jplenio, Pixabay, Copyright 2022.

It is easier to come in contact with an infection than treat it; hence, always take proper precautions, be it pneumonia or any other infectious disease.

4.3. Other Mediums

Microorganisms can also remain in the infected individual’s faecal matter; hence keeping your restrooms clean is essential. Everything ultimately boils down to hygiene, both personal and general hygiene.

5. Risk Factors of Double Pneumonia

5.1. Being Very Old or Very Young

In infants or children, the immune system is not fully established. Therefore, it is easier for them to be affected by the infection than an average adult is.

With the elderly, their immune system has begun to grow weak, making it harder for their body to fight against certain infections. Hence, children and older people must be more careful as they are more vulnerable to infection.

5.2. Having Lung Diseases

If an individual is already exposed to lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and other such diseases, they become more vulnerable to the infection. Simultaneously, an individual with any other form of respiratory infection is more prone to acquiring double pneumonia.

5.3. Smoking

Smoking tobacco will affect the body significantly, especially your lungs. It weakens the functioning of the lungs and damages specific cells and tissues that make an individual more vulnerable to double pneumonia.

6. Diagnosis for Double Pneumonia

Several diagnostic tests can be used to confirm the presence of the infection. A few of these tests are listed below. In addition, the doctor will always make a report of your family medical history to understand the infection better.

6.1. Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray is used to detect the location of the infection in your lungs. At the same time, a chest X-ray will also reveal the extent or intensity of the infection.

6.2. Blood Tests

Multiple blood tests are carried out to check the virus, bacteria, or fungi presence. A blood test will not only confirm the presence of the infection, but it will also confirm the type of infection one is affected with, namely, is it bacterial, viral, or fungal in nature.

6.3. Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry is another tool used for people with double pneumonia. This tool measures and records the oxygen level in an individual’s body. This is a non-invasive method that can easily measure the oxygen levels in the blood.

7. Treatment for Double Pneumonia

Double pneumonia is curable if treated appropriately. This disorder is treated in varied ways, and some of them are listed below. 

7.1. Medications

Antibiotics or penicillin are used to treat the infection. An antibiotic or penicillin prohibits the growth of the bacteria by killing it, hence preventing it from growing and multiplying. They are used to treat several other bacterial infections like syphilis and meningitis. Individuals who suffer from double bacterial pneumonia would certainly need antibiotic therapy.

7.2. Oxygen Therapy

It is hard for people with double pneumonia to breathe. The oxygen levels in their body are also deficient. Hence, conducting oxygen therapy4 on the affected will benefit them greatly. Oxygen therapy, popularly known as supplemental oxygen, is a way of using oxygen to treat a particular disease.

Here oxygen is supplied to an individual via tubes connected to the nose or to your windpipe. However, this must be used in the most critical situations because oxygen therapy has its side effects.

It is essential not to give an overdose of oxygen to the individual, as this might result in many other bodily complications. 

Inappropriate administration of oxygen therapy might even damage the lungs of the individual. Oxygen therapy can potentially also lead to the formation of free radicals that eventually affect the body negatively. This way, oxygen therapy will end up doing more harm than help. 

Many people suffer from sinus, poor vision, or accumulation of fluids in the lungs. Hence, oxygen therapy must always be administered by professional doctors who are well-versed in the quantity and method of administering it. 

If an individual relies on oxygen therapy for their fundamental supplication of oxygen, it is a critical stage that might result in a high mortality rate.

Double pneumonia can be easily treated with or without oxygen therapy. As mentioned earlier, double pneumonia can be easily resolved if treated early.

8. Bottom Line

Double pneumonia is certainly a severe infection that causes respiratory failure and other respiratory infections, but it can be treated. Your respiratory tract might be affected, but do remember that it can be healed. One need not panic about acquiring this infection but must approach a doctor to treat it.

Lung specialists or doctors may recommend a hospital stay for a few weeks to treat the condition and prevent its spread. There is an increased risk of acquiring this infection if a person with double pneumonia freely roams in the environment. Quarantine 5might be necessary to keep those around you safe and sound.

9. FAQs

Q1. What Are the Lasting Effects of Double Pneumonia?

In bilateral interstitial pneumonia, the tissue around your air sacs (interstitial tissue) becomes inflamed and can fill with pus and other fluid. As pneumonia worsens, your lungs may become permanently scarred. When the interstitial tissue becomes scarred, it can harden and make it difficult for you to breathe.

Q2. Does Pneumonia Weaken Your Body?

More severe cases of pneumonia can cause more damage to your lungs, which can be significant and even permanent in some cases. “After severe pneumonia, lung capacity decreases and muscles can become weak from the disease.

Q3. What Does It Mean if You Get Pneumonia Twice?

Recurrent pneumonia often occurs in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung disease with local obstructive processes such as bronchiectasis, immunocompromised patients, and tumours.

  1. Feldman, Charles, and Ronald Anderson. “Recent advances in the epidemiology and prevention of Streptococcus pneumoniae infections.” F1000Research 9 (2020). ↩︎
  2. Mallik, Arnab Kumar, Soumalya Mukherjee, and Mahesh V. Panchagnula. “An experimental study of respiratory aerosol transport in phantom lung bronchioles.” Physics of Fluids 32.11 (2020). ↩︎
  3. De Oliveira, David MP, et al. “Antimicrobial resistance in ESKAPE pathogens.” Clinical microbiology reviews 33.3 (2020): 10-1128. ↩︎
  4. Ospina-Tascon, Gustavo A., et al. “Effect of high-flow oxygen therapy vs conventional oxygen therapy on invasive mechanical ventilation and clinical recovery in patients with severe COVID-19: a randomized clinical trial.” Jama 326.21 (2021): 2161-2171. ↩︎
  5. Brooks, Samantha K., et al. “The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence.” The lancet 395.10227 (2020): 912-920. ↩︎

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R Shishma Jeevitha

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