We were still 55 km away from town when Mom got sick. She had to hitch into town to the hospital.

Our mom got pneumonia while we were traveling in northern Argentina. She was really sick and spent five days in the hospital and a lot more recuperating in our hotel.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs most commonly caused by a bacteria or virus. Pneumonia can also be caused by inhaling puke or other substances. The lungs’ air sacs fill with pus and other stuff cutting off the necessary oxygen.

Aspiration pneumonia is a swelling and irritation of the lungs caused by breathing in vomit, fumes from chemicals such as bug sprays, pool cleaners, gasoline, or other substances. This kind of pneumonia cannot be spread to other people. The bacterial or viral kind can be spread.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

There are many different symptoms of pneumonia depending on any sicknesses you might have or the virus or bacteria causing it. It is often very similar to the flu so you might not realize it immediately. Its symptoms might include fever, breathlessness, muscle pain, pain when breathing, sweating, chills, coughing, and tiredness. Strangely, old people and people with bad sicknesses have less or less severe symptoms than other people. They may even have a lower than average temperature.

You are very commonly exposed to viruses and bacteria that can cause pneumonia but most of the time your body can fight them off. However many things can allow them to get into your lungs, like bad nutrition and sicknesses. As soon as they are in your lungs your white blood cells fight them. That causes your lungs to inflame and fill with liquid.

How do you treat pneumonia?

To cure pneumonia, you have to take antibiotics. Medications should be taken exactly as prescribed by a physician. If it is not helping, call the doctor. Do not quit taking it unless told to do so by a doctor. Increase air moisture to make it easier to breathe. DO NOT use hot steam. Rest in bed until your body core temperature returns to normal and chest pains and breathing problems are gone. Drink six to eight glasses of liquids daily to help keep mucous thin and easy to cough up.


We rode our bikes in by ourselves and met Mom at the hospital.
She had to stay in the hospital for five days.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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