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Timely diagnosis and treatment of "white lung", early recognition is crucial!

by len king on Feb 01, 2023

Pulse oximeter

What is "white lung"?

"White lung" is a colloquial description of the imaging appearance of the lungs. When there is inflammation and infection and the alveoli are filled with exudate, etc., this appears as a white area on imaging. White lung is not called white lung whenever there is inflammation in the lungs, but generally speaking when there is more inflammation and exudate in the lungs, and the white area of the image is 70-80%, it is called white lung in clinical practice.
In other words, white lung generally refers to patients with severe pneumonia, and when white lung appears it may mean that the lung problem has become more serious.

Why is there nothing obvious abnormal in the elderly when it develops into pneumonia?

As the elderly age, their body functions gradually decline, their metabolic rate is low, and they may not respond as strongly to pathogens that invade their bodies. Therefore, some elderly people may not even have symptoms such as fever or cough after infection. However, this does not mean that the infection is necessarily mild, and the progress of the disease may be overlooked, only to find out that the situation is actually more serious when they arrive at the hospital. This phenomenon is also known as "silent hypoxia".

How to recognize the signs of "white lung" early?

The "white lung" caused by viral pneumonia does not form immediately, but there are usually some warning signals two or three days before, so you must be aware of them.
1. The first thing to look for is mental state, whether drowsiness, loss of appetite, indifference, vomiting, etc.
2. Shortness of breath, one minute to 30 times (normal adult one minute breathing in 20 times or less).
3. The fever does not subside even after taking medication, or the body temperature returns to normal for 1 to 2 days, and then suddenly a high fever of 39℃ or more appears again, accompanied by shortness of breath.
4. Pay attention to changes in oxygen saturation, heartbeat, pulse rate, etc. If the oxygen saturation is lower than 93%, you should send the elderly to the doctor as soon as possible, and the pulse rate is 60-100, but higher than 100 should be alerted to early detection and treatment.
For people with chronic respiratory diseases who are at high risk for new coronary heart disease, it is recommended to prepare oxygen machines and ventilators at home. For patients who usually have reduced lung function or low oxygen, it is recommended to prepare oxygen machines at home and follow medical advice for oxygen intake when necessary. Home ventilators allow patients to perform noninvasive ventilation at home, which both reduces the pressure on hospital beds and saves household expenses. Home oxygen therapy also reduces the risk of nosocomial cross-infection during an epidemic, making it safer and more convenient.

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