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Definition of Pneumonia

November 25, 2013

Pneumonia is a lung condition when one or both lungs are infected by fungi, viruses or bacteria causing inflammation of the air sacs of the lungs.  The lung sacs known as alveoli is filled with pus or fluid resulting in symptoms like cough combined with phlegm, breathing difficulty, chills and fever.

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe and certain factors come into play that determines the kind of pneumonia the person has. These factors can include the person’s overall health, age as well as the type of germ causing the infection.

Types of Types of Pneumonia

  • Community-acquired pneumonia – Or CAP for short, this is a type of pneumonia that develops outside health care settings. CAP sufferers can get the germ when they breathe it in, oftentimes during sleep. The germs causing CAP may reside in the throat, nose or mouth. This type is the most common pneumonia found in pneumonia sufferers and often arises during wintertime. Each year about 4 million people suffer from CAP in the United States alone.
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia – As suggested in the name, hospital-acquired pneumonia or HAP is a type of pneumonia that is caught in hospitals. A lot of people infected with HAP get this disease when they’re on a ventilator. People who get HAP often are already sick and the germs that cause HAP are more resistant to antibiotics than the other types of pneumonia.
  • Health care-associated pneumonia (HCAP) – Health care settings such as outpatient clinics, dialysis centers and nursing homes are where patients and others can get this type of pneumonia.

Some Other Types of Pneumonia

  • Aspiration pneumonia – You can get this type of pneumonia if you accidentally convey materials such as saliva, vomit, drink or food from your mouth into your lungs. This situation often occurs if your gag reflexes dysfunctions due to too much drug abuse or alcohol, swallowing difficulty or brain injury. Aspiration can cause lung abscess since it tends to enable pus to form in a lung cavity.
  • Atypical Pneumonia – This is one form of CAP that may be a combination of one or more types of bacteria. These bacteria may include:  Chlamydophila pneumoniae, mycoplasma pneumonia and legionella pneumophila. Atypical pneumonia is a communicable disease which means it can be passed from one individual to the other.


Daniel Haun is a licensed acupuncture practitioner and the clinical director of Bailey & Haun Acupuncture in Oceanside, CA.