Viral pneumonia is a lung infection caused by various viruses, such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), or COVID-19. It inflames the air sacs in the lungs, leading to symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The infection spreads through respiratory droplets, affecting the respiratory system’s ability to oxygenate the blood. Severe cases can result in breathing difficulties and require medical intervention. Initially, these viruses enter and damage the upper layer of the lungs, but procrastination of treatment can lead to these viruses entering deep into the lungs.
Health symptoms such as sudden fever, cough, painful throat and muscles, and lack of appetite can help identify the infection. People falling in the age bar beyond 65, who are recovering from surgery, consume high amounts of alcohol, are chain smokers, or are HIV positive have a high chance of getting affected respiratory issues.
Causes of Viral Pneumonia
Viral pneumonia is primarily caused by different viruses, including influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, rhinovirus, and most notably, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). These viruses enter the respiratory system through inhalation of infected droplets or by touching contaminated surfaces and then the face. Once inside, they attack lung tissues, triggering inflammation, fluid buildup, and reduced oxygen exchange. This leads to the characteristic symptoms of viral pneumonia, ranging from mild to severe respiratory distress.
Viruses– One of the major causes of the infection is the spread of viruses. Initially, the viruses attack the upper respiratory system. Later, they spread in the whole organ, creating a blockage in functioning. Some common viral infections leading to viral pneumonia are –
- Influenza Virus: The flu virus is a common cause of viral pneumonia, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems or preexisting health conditions.
- Coronaviruses: Certain strains of coronaviruses, like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, have been associated with severe cases of viral pneumonia.
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): RSV is a major cause of pneumonia, especially in young children, older adults, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
- Human Metapneumovirus: This virus can lead to pneumonia, especially in children, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals.
- Adenoviruses: These viruses can cause various respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia.
- Parainfluenza Viruses: These viruses can cause various respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
- Enteroviruses: Some enteroviruses can cause respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
- Varicella-Zoster Virus (Chickenpox Virus): In adults, chickenpox or shingles virus can lead to viral pneumonia.
Health Problems– Different health problems leading to a suppressed immune system can also cause respiratory problems. Health conditions, such as the common cold, respiratory problems, HIV/AIDS, and other similar health problems, can also lead to higher chances of infection.
Symptoms of Viral Pneumonia
- Cough– Dry cough is a significant and identifiable viral pneumonia symptom, among other signs of the infection. It is usually in children and infants. It happens due to the accumulation of the virus in the upper respiratory system, causing pus and difficulty breathing. In continuous dry or phlegm cough, the patient should be taken to a doctor for a proper checkup.
- Headache– Headache is another symptom of the infection. The respiratory system takes time to heal compared to other parts or organs of the body. Slower healing of the respiratory organ may lead to health problems such as fever, headache, pain in the throat, and many other problems.
- Weakness– An individual affected by the infection may feel weak or tired most of the time. It happens due to the illness caused due to infection. The individual may feel pain in the muscles and also experience sudden weight loss. A combination of all the health issues results in weakness and low capacity of the lungs for proper functioning.
- Bluish Lips or Fingertips- In severe cases, bluish lips or fingertips due to oxygen shortage can occur. As symptoms can mimic other illnesses, seeking medical attention is vital, especially if you have underlying health conditions or feel significantly unwell.
Also Read – Common Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia
Treatment for Viral Pneumonia
- Antibiotics- Using antibiotics specially curated to heal the viral infection is a highly opted viral pneumonia treatment option. A proper checkup helps to identify the right antibiotics that help to heal the infection. Macrolide antibiotics and amoxicillin for children are some of the first antibacterial drugs opted to lower the spread of infection.
- Resting– Viral Pneumonia leads to throat, chest, and muscle pain. The condition may also cause a severe and disturbing headache. Ample rest to lower the infection is vital. It helps in quicker healing and avoids major disturbing health problems. Rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications can help manage fever and discomfort.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Pulmonology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Viral Pneumonia occurs due to the spread of infection and bacteria damaging the lungs and respiratory system. The condition can happen due to being in continuous contact with contaminated soil. The health issue can be treated by following an antibacterial treatment or simply resting. The patient can also help the body recover within a few days.
Q. What is Viral Pneumonia?
A. It is an infection or bacterial attack damaging the upper respiratory system or the lungs.
Q. What are the causes of Viral Pneumonia?
A. Viruses such as Influenza virus, metapneumovirus are some of the viruses that cause Viral Pneumonia.
Q. What are the symptoms of Viral Pneumonia?
A. Cough, fever, muscle and throat pain, and headache are some of the symptoms of the infection.
Q. How is Viral Pneumonia treated?
A. Rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications can help manage fever and discomfort. In severe cases, hospitalisation might be necessary for oxygen therapy and monitoring. Antiviral medications can be prescribed for specific viral infections. Preventive measures such as vaccinations, good hygiene, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals are essential in reducing the risk of viral pneumonia.
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