World Pneumonia Day- A global  event with the theme “Pneumonia Affects Everyone”

By Dr. Sachin Singh | 11th Nov 2022

World Pneumonia Day- A global  event with the theme “Pneumonia Affects Everyone”

What is known as World pneumonia day?

World Pneumonia Day is an annual global event held on November 12th to raise awareness and educate people about Pneumonia disease, which is the world’s worst infectious killer of adults and children, accounting for the majority of fatalities among children under the age of five worldwide.

The day also aims to provide adequate opportunity and motivation for global action, particularly in low and middle-income countries, to combat the toll of pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. The Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia launched the Stop Pneumonia Initiative in 2009, which resulted in the creation of World Pneumonia Day. 

Every year on November 12th, World Pneumonia Day is observed to:

  • Increase public awareness of pneumonia, the greatest cause of death in children under the age of five;
  • Encourage the use of therapies that can be used to treat, prevent, and protect against pneumonia.
  • Despite being a condition that may be prevented and treated, pneumonia is one of the major causes of death in children under the age of five.

Pneumonia, a severe infectious disease, kills more children than any other disease. Every year, about 2,000 children under the age of five die from pneumonia. Most of these deaths could have been stopped. Around the world, there are more than 1,400 cases of pneumonia per 100,000 children or one case for every 71 children every year. 

It is essential to get a correct diagnosis and administer effective treatment for a child’s pneumonia in order to improve their chances of survival. Reducing infant mortality, which is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3.2.1 targets, requires making it a high priority to eliminate preventable deaths caused by pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The goal of this year’s World Pneumonia Day is to increase the impact of awareness campaigns by lighting up monuments around the world. The concept is based on the Worldwide Pneumonia Awareness Campaign, “Pneumolight 2022,” with the topic and slogan “Pneumonia Affects Everyone.”

Insight on Pneumonia: 

Causes

Viruses, bacteria, and fungi are just a few of the infectious organisms that can cause pneumonia. The most frequent are: 

  • Streptococcus pneumonia, which is the most frequent bacterial cause of pneumonia in children; 
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), which is the second most frequent bacterial cause of pneumonia; 
  • respiratory syncytial virus, which is the most prevalent viral cause of pneumonia; and Pneumocystis jiroveci, which is one of the most prevalent causes of pneumonia in infants with HIV and is accountable for at least 25% of all pneumonia.

Pneumonia symptoms: 

Pneumonia can cause minor or severe manifestations of its symptoms. Persons with a higher risk for having more serious complications from pneumonia include young children, older individuals, and people with serious health conditions. These people may even lose their lives as a result of their illness.

The symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • You may experience chest pain, when you breathe or cough.
  • Chills
  • Coughing, with or without producing mucus
  • Fever
  • Low oxygen levels in your blood when  measured with a pulse oximeter
  • Shortness of breath

You may also experience additional symptoms, such as a headache, muscle pain, excessive exhaustion, nausea (the feeling of being sick to your stomach), vomiting, and diarrhoea. Older people, those with serious illnesses, or those with compromised immune systems might not exhibit the normal symptoms of the condition.

Instead of having a fever, they can have a temperature that is lower than normal. Adults over the age of 60 who have pneumonia may experience abrupt confusion or feelings of weakness.

Babies don’t always exhibit typical signs and symptoms. They might also have a fever, a cough, or a restless or fatigued appearance, in addition to a lack of energy. These additional symptoms of respiratory distress in infants may also be present:

  • Skin and lips have a bluish tint.
  • Grunting
  • Pulling inward of the muscles between the ribs when breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Widening of the nostrils with each breath

Pneumonia prevention

Pneumonia can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. You can take some preventative measures.

Vaccines can prevent some forms of pneumonia. In addition to practising good hygiene (frequent hand washing), quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy immune system through regular physical activity and a nutritious diet are additional strategies to reduce your chance of developing pneumonia.

Pneumonia vaccines

Vaccinations can be an effective means of protecting against pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza. Vaccines are not capable of preventing 100% of pneumonia cases. On the other hand, compared to people who don’t get vaccinated, those who are vaccinated yet still get pneumonia are likely to have the following:

  • Fewer complications of a life-threatening nature
  • Infections that are not severe
  • A form of pneumonia that does not linger for as long

a) Pneumococcal vaccines

Pneumococcus bacteria are the most frequent form of bacteria that cause pneumonia, and there are currently two vaccinations available to prevent infections caused by these bacteria. Pneumococcal vaccinations are especially crucial for individuals who are at a high risk of contracting pneumonia, including the following groups of people:

  • Adults age 65 or older
  • Children aged 2 or younger
  • People with weak immune systems, severe long-term health issues, or chronic (ongoing) disorders People with cancer, HIV, asthma, sickle cell disease, spleen damage from surgery, or cancer may fall under this category.
  • Individuals who smoke

b) Flu (influenza) vaccine

Your annual flu shot can help avoid flu-related pneumonia. The flu vaccine is often administered in September and October before the flu season begins.

c) Hib vaccine

Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) is a bacterium that can cause pneumonia. The Hib vaccine is recommended for all children under the age of 5 years. The vaccination is frequently administered to newborns as early as 2 months of age.

You can take the following steps to protect yourself and others from spreading the infection to others around you.

  • When you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose.
  • Keep your distance from close friends and relatives.
  • Make sure to regularly wash your hands, especially after you’ve been sick.

Detection and Treatment of Pneumonia

Your doctor will make a diagnosis of pneumonia based on your medical history, physical exam, and test results. Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose since your symptoms may be similar to those of a cold or flu.

1) Medical assessment

Your doctor will want to know what your symptoms are and when they started. They will also ask if you have any things that make you more likely to get pneumonia. You also might be asked:

  • If you are exposed to sick people at home, school, or work or in a hospital
  • Have you got flu or pneumonia vaccinations done previously
  • Medication that you take
  • Previous and current medical issues, as well as an assessment of whether any have worsened in recent times
  • any travel history
  • Exposed to birds and other animals
  • Smoking

Your doctor will take your temperature and use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs during the physical examination.

2) Diagnostic tests and procedures

In order to determine whether you have pneumonia, your doctor may do any of the following procedures.

  • A chest X-ray examines your lungs for inflammation. Pneumonia is frequently diagnosed with a chest X-ray.
  • A complete blood count (CBC) test determines if your immune system is fighting an illness.
  • Pulse oximetry detects the amount of oxygen in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from delivering enough oxygen to your bloodstream. A little sensor called a pulse oximeter is connected to your finger or ear to measure the Oxygen level.

If you’re hospitalised, have serious symptoms, are elderly, or have other health issues, your doctor may run extra tests. They are as follows:

  • A sputum test may be used to determine the cause of your pneumonia.
  • A blood culture can identify the pneumonia-causing microbe and determine if the illness has spread into your blood.
  • Your blood or sputum sample will be immediately examined by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to quickly identify the DNA of the pneumonia-causing bacteria.
  • Bronchoscopy examines your airways. This operation may be needed if your treatment isn’t functioning. Your doctor may also take lung tissue and fluid to diagnose pneumonia.
  • A CT scan can show how much of your lungs have pneumonia. It can detect lung abscesses and pleural diseases. CT scans are more detailed than chest X-rays.
  • A process known as thoracentesis, in which a doctor inserts a needle into your chest to remove a sample of fluid from the pleural space between your lungs and chest wall, can be used to get a pleural fluid culture. After that, the fluid is examined for bacteria.

Treatment for pneumonia

Risk factors and severity of pneumonia determine treatment. Many pneumonia patients recover at home with treatment. Serious pneumonia may require hospitalisation or intensive care.

1) Pneumonia medicines

Your doctor may prescribe the following drugs to treat your pneumonia at home or in the hospital.

Disclaimer – Always Consult A Doctor Before Taking Any Of These Drugs

2) Management at home

If your pneumonia is mild, your provider may prescribe medicines or suggest over-the-counter medicines to treat it at home.

  • For bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics may be recommended. After one to three days of antibiotic therapy, the majority of patients start to feel better. However, you should follow your doctor’s instructions when taking antibiotics. It’s possible for pneumonia to relapse if you stop too soon.
  • Viral pneumonia occasionally requires the use of antiviral medication. These medications do not, however, protect against every pneumonia-causing infection.
  • Fungal pneumonia is treated with antifungal medications.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can cure fever, muscle pain, and asthma. Before taking cough or cold medicine, see your doctor.

Take the following steps to help your body recover from pneumonia:

  • The healing process is aided by proper nutrition.
  • Consume a lot of fluids to help keep your body from becoming dehydrated.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs. Your immune system gets weaker when you drink or use illegal drugs, which can make it more likely that you will get sick from pneumonia.
  • Quit smoking, and stay away from people who do. If you have pneumonia, breathing in smoke can make it worse.
  • Get plenty of Rest. Getting a good night’s sleep can help your body rest and boost the way your immune system works. Check out How Sleep Works to learn more.
  • Moving around can help you get stronger and help you get better faster. But you may still feel like you can’t breathe. If you push yourself too hard, you might feel dizzy. Talk to your doctor about how active you should be.
  • Maintaining an upright posture will allow you to feel more at ease and will make it easier for you to breathe.
  • Take a few slow, deep breaths several times during the day.

3) Management at the hospital

If you have severe pneumonia, you may be hospitalised and given antibiotics and fluids through an Intravenous (IV). Oxygen treatment can raise blood oxygen levels. Severe pneumonia may require a ventilator.
Procedures
You may need surgery to remove infected or damaged lungs. It may help you heal and prevent pneumonia from returning.

Statistics on Pneumonia:

  • According to WHO in 2017, more than 808000 children under the age of 5 perished from pneumonia, representing 15% of all deaths among children under the age of 5.
  • According to UNICEF, every 43 sec a child dies of Pneumonia
  • The risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia for a 65-year-old with COPD is 7.7 times higher than a healthy one, and those with asthma are at 5.9 times greater risk.
  • In another case-control study, Almirall et al found that current smoking was associated with a nearly 2-fold risk of community-acquired pneumonia where 32% of the risk was attributable to cigarette smoking.
  • The new WHO/UNICEF Action Plan sets clear goals for the world to achieve by 2025: a 75% reduction in the incidence of severe pneumonia and diarrhoea from 2010 levels among children under five, and the virtual elimination of deaths from both diseases in the same age group.
  • Older persons who smoke and are exposed to air pollution, which is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels, are also at risk. Air pollution and smoking are responsible for over half of the projected 1.6 million pneumonia deaths among individuals over 50.

Conclusion: 

  • World Pneumonia Day’s goal is to combat pneumonia by uniting the communities that work in the fields of health, air quality, and climate change.
  • The purpose of World Pneumonia Day is to urge governments with high rates of pneumonia and air pollution to committing to reducing the number of pneumonia-related fatalities by 50 per cent by 2030.
  • Observing the day is important because it helps people learn about climate and air pollution problems, raises awareness through campaigns, and helps fight the disease.

If you or your family members are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms then you can get a free consultation from our expert doctors at Truemeds. You can also upload your prescription and get generic or branded medicines at up to 72% discounted price and get them delivered to your doorstep anywhere in India. 

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