Parasites, fungi and bacteria can all cause pneumonia; viruses can cause this disease as well. It is a disease which can be especially troublesome to the elderly, to those with a weakened immune system, people with a chronic illness, to infants and young children. Pneumonia can be mild, but it can also be life-threatening. The damage that it can cause to the lungs cannot be repaired by supplements.
Viral pneumonia describes the inflammation of the lungs as a result of a viral infection. This type of pneumonia usually affects young children and the elderly, but also poses a risk for those who have received organ transplants, premature babies, people undergoing chemotherapy, children with a heart or lung disease and people with HIV or AIDS, because they all have a weakened immune system. The most common viruses to cause viral pneumonia are parainfluenza type 3, adenovirus, influenza virus and the respiratory syncytial virus, according to George Brooks, M.D., Chief of the Microbiology Section at Clinical Laboratories in “Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology.”
Influenza Viral Pneumonia
The influenza viruses A and B are the main viruses that cause admission to the ICU for viral pneumonia, per R. Bruce Light, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba in “Principles of Critical Care.” This virus targets the membrane lining the lungs, including the cells. The cells fall off, fluid enters the tissues, the inflammation increases and the alveoli air sacs may collapse. The alveoli are where oxygen leaves the lungs and enters the bloodstream. Due to the damage that the virus does to the lungs, it is common for someone with this type of viral pneumonia to have respiratory failure. Supplements will not repair this lung damage.
The adenovirus pneumonia may develop after an infection to the bronchi or the bronchioles. Your windpipe, called the trachea, divides into two bronchi airways, and each bronchi divides into many smaller airways that are called the bronchioles. The alveoli air sacs are at the end of the bronchioles. Lungs affected with viral pneumonia may have inflammation throughout the alveoli air sacs. The inflammation can cause bleeding; fluid can leak into the space that surrounds the lungs, as explained in “Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Pulmonary Medicine” by Kathryn Lee, M.D., Fellow in Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Supplements cannot repair the bleeding or fluid leakage.
Respiratory Syncytial Viral Pneumonia
The respiratory syncytial virus can cause a severe infection in infants and severe pneumonia; it can also cause severe pneumonia in people with a weak immune system, and is more common in the elderly than was once thought. Usually, there are outbreaks of this virus in the early spring and winter, with 17 out of every 1,000 children hospitalized every year, as cited in the “Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment” by Shruti Patel, M.D., Fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Baylor College of Medicine. The alveoli air sacs in this viral pneumonia are inflamed and can collapse as they fill up with fluid. Once again, supplements will not be able to repair the lung damage of inflammation and collapsed air sacs.
- Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Pulmonary Medicine: Michael Hanley, M.D. and Carolyn Welsh, M.D.
- Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics: William Hay, Jr., M.D. et al.
- Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012: Stephen McPhee, M.D. and Maxine Papadakis, M.D.
- Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology: George Brooks, M.D. et al.
- Principles of Critical Care: Jesse Hall, M.D. et al.
- The Big Picture: Gross Anatomy: David Morton, Ph.D.