(Photo courtesy of: The Indian Paper)
Nov, 12th 2020 – Every 12th of November, the World has observed World Pneumonia Day since the year 2009. This year, 2020, the theme is “Every Breath Counts”. A call for global awareness and action against this respiratory infection, which is claiming many lives especially during this pandemic.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The infection causes the alveoli (lungs’ air sacs) to become inflamed and fill up with fluid or pus.That can make it hard for the oxygen you breathe in to get into your bloodstream.
The symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, which include:
• Fever, sweating and shaking chills
• Trouble breathing or shortness of breathe
• Chest pains when breathing or coughing
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
Factors that affect seriousness of pneumonia.
• The type of germ causing the lung infection.
• The person’s age.
• The general health of the person.
People most at risk
• Infants and young children
• Adults 65 of age or older
• People with other health problems that affect the lungs and heart
• Those with autoimmune diseases and HIV/AIDS hence weakening the immune system.
• Those with neurological conditions like dementia or stroke.
• Those who smoke and drink.
• Pregnant women
Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization in both children and adults. Most cases can be treated successfully, although it can take weeks to fully recover.
There are two types of pneumonia vaccines which prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria which are Pneumovax23 and Prevnar13.
For viral pneumonia, there are no vaccines that prevent it as it can occur due to complications arising from viral infections like Coronavirus.
One can try to prevent pneumonia by trying to adopt a certain lifestyle:
• By maintaining hygiene
• Quit smoking or avoiding second hand smoke and exposure to air pollutants that can affect the lungs.
• Ensure that you get treated for any infections that you might have to avoid progression to pneumonia.
• Eating a healthy diet, exercise and getting enough sleep.
By maintaining these kind of habits, one’s immunity can strengthen which can help fight off all infections.
It is also advisable to consult your medical professional and get the flu or Pneumonia shot that can help in preventing the disease.
Remember, Every Breath Counts!