The View’s Whoopi Goldberg Recovering From Pneumonia
For those who regularly watch the talk show The View, the absence of host Whoopi Goldberg would be hard to ignore. Whilst viewers assumed the comedian was preoccupied with side projects, her co-hosts have revealed that the actress is, in fact, battling with pneumonia.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a potentially fatal and often contagious disease that affects the lungs. The disease is spread when an individual inhales airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. As a result of the infection, the lungs become inflamed before filling up with fluid thus making it difficult to breathe and for the body to get enough oxygen.
According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia accounts for more than 4 million deaths a year. Furthermore, 920,000 of those deaths are all children and about 15% of these deaths occur in children under the age of 5 (1).
Those who are at risk of developing the disease include children under the age of five, adults above the age of 65, those with a compromised immune system (HIV/AIDS and cancer victims), smokers or those that regularly abuse alcohol, asthmatics and those who have been exposed to air pollutants. The disease is most prevalent in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
There are four types of pneumonia and in classifying the disease, the cause of the infection is always considered;
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Fungal pneumonia: This form occurs in individuals with weak immune systems.
- Mycoplasma pneumonia: This type regularly occurs in older children and young adults.
- Viral pneumonia: This form often results from respiratory viruses such as the flu.
While symptoms of pneumonia vary from person to person, the most common ones are persistent and painful coughing as well as the coughing up of bloody, yellow mucus. Other signs include difficulty breathing, chest pain, high fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and muscle pain. Symptoms in toddlers are similar to those often vomiting after a coughing fit.
Diagnosis and treatment
If you recognize any of the above symptoms, it’s important to consult your doctor. They will then perform a series of tests to verify that you do in fact have the disease. These tests include X-rays, blood tests, a urine test, and a bronchoscopy.
Treatment is dependent on the initial cause of the disease as the antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-fungal drugs can all be used to treat it.
However, if your symptoms are incredibly severe, you may find yourself hospitalized. While there, your treatment may include intravenous antibiotics and even oxygen therapy.
The first line of defense against pneumonia is the vaccine that helps to protect against bacterial pneumonia.
In addition to the vaccine, there are other ways in which you can avoid the disease. This includes not smoking, regularly washing your hands with soap and water and always covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing. You should also ensure that you get enough rest, reduce your household air pollutants, consume a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle.
In regards to toddlers, a study published in the Journal de Pediatria revealed that breastfeeding infants during the first year of life, as well as ensuring that they get adequate nutrition during their earliest years, can help to protect them against pneumonia.
While pneumonia can be a debilitating disease, most individuals respond well to the treatment and fully recover.