Pneumonia is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and although the viral form can be dangerous, especially in vulnerable, elderly people or the young. Bacterial pneumonia is the more serious health hazard. This form may be the final cause of death in cancer victims or the very old.

If only one lobe of lung is affected, it is known as acute lobar pneumonia. It develops rapidly, causing fever, rapid breathing and a dry, persistent cough. Bronchopneumonia involves patchy inflammation which can be on one or both lungs, and double pneumonia simply means that both lungs are affected.

In Chinese Medicine the diagnosis will be Heat and Phlegm in the Lung, mainly due to a Wind-Heat or Wind-Cold invasion. Chinese Medicine treatment varies according to the stage. In the early days, when there is coughing, fever and chest pain, it is treated in a similar way to bronchitis or flu. When there is blood in the phlegm, the Heat must be cleared. A Chinese Medicine practitioner will prescribe Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Chuan Bei Mu (Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae), Yu Xing Cao (Herba Houttuyniae), Ting Li Zi (Semen Lepidii) or Tao Ren (Semen Persicae). A G.P. must be consulted quickly.

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