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Pneumonia in your lungs sounds awful, and feels even worse. Its pathophysiology and symptoms can be deadly. Therefore treatment must be given immediately.

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Stay warm this winter, for pneumonia kills 4 million people every year. Here's what you need to know to survive.

What is it?
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or fungi. It affects the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. Those infected with this disease often experience severe cough, fever, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and sharp or stabbing chest pains during deep breaths.

Where is it located?
Pneumonia can infect you wherever you may be, even in your daily life such as at school or work. This is due to the fact that it's caused by breathing germs into your lungs. You're more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu because these illnesses make it harder for your lungs to fight infection. Pneumonia in children and in the elderly is very common.

How will it kill you?
X rays show that when you're infected with pneumonia, a collection of fluid forms in the alveoli, or the space surrounding your lungs. This causes an inflammation in the surrounding lung tissue. The swelling causes the alveoli to become less elastic, making it harder for oxygen to get through. So in essence, pneumonia causes you to drown to death from the buildup of fluid in your lungs. The difference between pneumonia and pneumothorax is that pneumothorax is a buildup of air or gas in the lungs while pneumonia is a buildup of liquids.

How to survive:
In most cases of pneumonia, a combination of antibiotics, rest, and fluids suffice in treating the infection. More severe cases may require hospitalization, where oxygen therapy and other breathing treatments will be administered in nursing. Another method of treatment for extreme cases is through a pleural tap--or tube thoracotomy--in which a needle or tube is inserted through the chest wall in order to drain the fluid buildup in the lungs.

So which of the following comedians died from pneumonia-induced complications?
On August 9th, 2008 Bernie Mac died from sarcoidosis, a lung disease which was complicated by a pneumonia infection. Brittany Murphy is another famous celebrity who died from pneumonia. Brittany Murphy died on December 20th, 2009.

So would you rather…be infected with pneumonia? Or be bit by fire ants? 

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