General Health

It’s time to keep Pneumonia at the forefront of medical focus. Here’s Why:

Pneumonia is an infectious illness that we have been combating for quite a long time. It is a type of intense respiratory disease that causes aggravation or liquid in the lungs and can cause trouble in breathing and limits oxygen consumption. Toddlers and old people, particularly, are at the most elevated danger. Across the world and in India, pneumonia keeps on being the main reason for death for children under five years old. It is assessed that universally, pneumonia kills a kid every 39 seconds. In 2018,  pneumonia caused the death of over 1.2 lakh children under five in India.

Pneumonia stands fifth in the leading cause of death in most countries. The improvement of death rates over the last few years has failed immensely. This is regardless of worldwide initiatives to perceive infections prior in patients and start medicines quickly.

How is Pneumonia caused?

Pneumonia is brought about by various infectious agents, including bacteria, fungi, and bacteria. However, the most common agents are:

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  • Streptococcus pneumonia – Mostly causes bacterial pneumonia in children
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) – The second common reason for bacterial pneumonia in children
  • Respiratory syncytial virus – Responsible for pneumonia that is viral
  • Pneumocystis jiroveci – Quite possibly the most widely recognized reason for pneumonia

How does Pneumonia spread?

Pneumonia is a very infectious disease. There are several ways in which it spreads: 

  • Inhaling virus and bacteria found in children’s noses and throats
  • Air-borne droplets caused by sneezes or coughs of other people
  • From blood, after or during birth

More tests are to be conducted on the various microbes causing pneumonia and the manners in which they are transmitted, as this is of critical significance for avoiding pneumonia and for treatment.

Why is Pneumonia so dangerous?

More often, pneumonia is a critical medical problem however diagnostics and treatments have become readily available now. But sometimes, it tends to be dangerous. Pneumonia causes a bigger number of deaths worldwide in children who are younger than five years of age than any other deadly disease. Likewise, pneumonia from the flu (seasonal) infection is one of the  top-10 reasons for death in the United States.

Some dangers associated with Pneumonia:

  1. Lung Abscess: It is a bacterial infection that happens in the lung tissue. The infection kills the lung tissue, and discharge gathers in that space. A lung abscess can be very hard to treat, and it very well may be fatal.
  2. Bacteremia and Septic Shock: This happens when pneumonia is caused by bacteria and is left untreated for a long time. The bacteria transmit into the blood and can cause a serious illness called a septic shock. This can lower the blood pressure to dangerously low levels. In severe cases, organ failure may happen. 
  3. Pleural Effusion: Sometimes pneumonia can lead to fluids getting collected in the tissues of the lungs. This causes difficulty in breathing. This can build up serious after-effects and the patient might have to insert tubes to remove fluids from the lungs. 

The above-mentioned dangers can have serious effects on the body like:

  • Fever
  • Chest Pain
  • Breathing issues
  • Body Pain
  • Restlessness
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Kidney Failure
  • Heart Failure

Children are by all accounts not the only ones influenced by pneumonia. Grown-ups, especially the older ones, are in critical danger of pneumonia too. As we scale up PCV for kids, this is the ideal opportunity to think about the vaccinations of grown-ups too. 

  1. By the numbers: Here are some facts and statistical data to give a picture of the seriousness of pneumonia:
  • Pneumonia represents 15% of all deaths of toddlers under 5 years of age, killing 8,08,694 kids in 2017
  • In 2017, Pneumonia caused the death of 2.56 million people
  • The most elevated pneumonia death rates in 2017 were among individuals aged 70 or older
  • 1.3 million people visited emergency departments with a primary diagnosis of pneumonia
  • For sepsis and septic shock, pneumonia has proven to be the most common reason which usually causes 50% of all episodes

There is additionally a need to thoroughly address other danger factors. This implies adjusting endeavors to handle pneumonia policies and strategies to diminish air contamination and lack of healthy sustenance, along with advancing behaviour changes, for example, rehearsing hygiene and cleanliness and breastfeeding babies as long as a half year old enough.

Precautionary Measures For Pneumonia

Using preventive methods for a deadly disease like pneumonia is necessary. In order to diminish child mortality, preventing pneumonia is a fundamental part. Vaccinations against pneumococcus, Hib, measles, and challenging cough (pertussis) is the best method to forestall pneumonia.

Here is a list of some basic measures to prevent pneumonia:

  1. Vaccines: Getting a flu vaccine yearly can highly reduce the chances of pneumonia. Pneumonia is mostly caused by the flu virus. Children and older people must be vaccinated without fail. 
  2. Basic Hygiene: Following basic hygiene methods like washing hands frequently with soap, taking a bath every day will lessen the chances of getting viruses and bacteria which lead to pneumonia. 
  3. Quit Smoking: Smoking harms your lung’s capacity to fight off any contamination, and smokers have been discovered to be in higher danger of getting pneumonia. Smokers are viewed as one of the high-hazard bunches that are recommended to receive the pneumococcal vaccine.
  4. General Health: Maintaining a healthy body by eating a balanced diet and exercising every day is vital. This makes your immune system stronger which fights deadly viruses effectively. A healthy person is more likely to recover from a cold faster and without any complications. 

Conclusive India Scenario

In 2018, India ranked 2nd in the world for the death of children under the age of five due to pneumonia. This “forgotten epidemic” is presently answerable for 15% of death of children younger than five, but then, only 3% of worldwide irresistible illness research spending is assigned to the infection, a UN office said.

A report said only five nations were liable for the greater part of death due to pneumonia in children: 

  • Nigeria (162,000) 
  • India (127,000)
  • Pakistan (58,000)T
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo (40,000) 
  • Ethiopia (32,000)

A report described the concern that children with serious instances of pneumonia may require oxygen treatment, which is not always accessible in the least fortunate nations to the patients and children who need it.

“We still have work to do to ensure every child has access to this lifesaver,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.

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