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SICK S2 • E4

Here's Why Pneumonia Is Still So Deadly

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Published on Aug 6, 2019

The immune system has a whole arsenal of ways to fight off an infection. But with pneumonia, the immune system’s response can be lethal.
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When it comes to some diseases, like pneumonia, the way the body defends itself can have unintended consequences.

The symptoms of pneumonia, like shortness of breath, fever, a cough, fatigue, and more, can vary greatly in severity.The effects of walking pneumonia or atypical pneumonia can be so mild, someone might not even know they have it. In other cases, the infection can lead to death.

Pneumonia doesn’t just refer to a single virus or bacteria. The causes of pneumonia can include a number of different bacteria, viruses, or even fungi, the most common being the bacteria streptococcus pneumoniae. So when we’re talking about pneumonia, we’re really referring to something that is happening to our lungs.

Children under five, adults older than 65, and anyone with a compromised immune system are the most at risk. And when it comes to life or death as a result of pneumonia, access to health care or lack thereof is key.

Learn more about the disease nicknamed the “captain of the men of death” on this episode of SICK.
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SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.
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Read More:
The ‘captain of the men of death’, Streptococcus pneumoniae, fights oxidative stress outside the ‘city wall’
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...

Integrative Physiology of Pneumonia
https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/1...

Evolution of the immune system in humans from infancy to old age
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...
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