Viral and bacterial infections can cause pneumonia, a condition in which one or both lungs become inflamed. Bacterial pneumonia is generally regarded as more serious than viral pneumonia, although both can be very dangerous to the young and the elderly. Viral pneumonia is often the result of chickenpox or measles.

A cough and shortness of breath are the first symptoms of pneumonia, accompanied by fever and sweating. Acute lobar pneumonia, which affects only one lobe of one lung, causes a dry cough. The sufferer may cough up blood. In the case of bronchopneumonia, usually affecting both lungs, there are sudden chest pains and the sufferer coughs up yellow, green, or brown sputum, sometimes containing blood.

Pneumonia can be a serious condition and a doctor should be consulted if it is suspected. However, some complementary therapies prescribed by qualified practitioners can be helpful. Herbal expectorants can be used to loosen the phlegm, including mullein and thyme. Echinacea, garlic and large doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin A may be recommended to boost the immune system against infection. Fruit or vegetable juice fasts may be recommended, followed by diets which exclude foods which increase mucus production such as dairy products and sweet foods.


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