World Pneumonia Day
World Pneumonia Day is on November 12 and, like every year, it is dedicated to spread awareness among people to understand the need to stand together and demand action in the fight against this disease. Pneumonia is the world’s biggest infectious killer of children and adults. On average, it alone kills more children than the combined mortality rate caused by AIDS, measles, and malaria. It is the lack of oxygen in the lungs that makes us realize how important oxygen is to our bodies — and makes lung health a priority world-wide.
This World Pneumonia Day, we look forward to coming together to understand how crucial oxygen is for us and what can be done in our fight against pneumonia. Since respiratory ailments are quite prominent right now, this makes World Pneumonia Day even more relevant.
A Pneumonia Crisis across the Life Course
The fight to reduce deaths from the single, biggest infectious killer of adults and children has never been more urgent.
Pneumonia claimed the lives of 2.5 million, including 672,000 children, in 2019 alone. The combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and conflict is fueling a pneumonia crisis across the life course – placing millions more at risk of infection and death. In 2021, the estimated burden of deaths from respiratory infections, including COVID-19, is a massive 6 million.
But it is the very young and the very old who are at greatest risk.
Children living in areas with declining vaccination rates, rising malnutrition due to food shortages, and in homes that use polluting fuels for cooking and heating, are particularly vulnerable. UNICEF has predicted an explosion in child deaths if urgent action is not taken to reach these children, including with oxygen and antibiotics.
Older adults exposed to air pollution – most significantly from burning fossil fuels – and smoking are also at risk. Almost half of the estimated 1.6 million pneumonia deaths among adults aged over 50 are attributable to air pollution and smoking.
This World Pneumonia Day, on 12 November 2022, the Mérieux Foundation and Every Breath Counts have awarded 11 civil society organizations small grants to support events that strengthen local engagement in the fight against pneumonia.
Most of the populations dangerously exposed to pneumonia live in a group of low- and middle-income countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America – including the 11 countries that are home to the winning entries. Their efforts to mobilize communities to educate and empower families, and strengthen health systems to prevent, diagnosis and treat pneumonia, will make a big difference to a disease that is both preventable and treatable. source https://stoppneumonia.org/latest/world-pneumonia-day/
About Pneumonia disease
|Specialty||Pulmonology, Infectious disease|
|Symptoms||Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever|
|Causes||Bacteria, virus, aspiration|
|Risk factors||Cystic fibrosis, COPD, sickle cell disease, asthma, diabetes, heart failure, history of smoking, very young age, older age|
|Diagnostic method||Based on symptoms, chest X-ray|
|Differential diagnosis||COPD, asthma, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism|
|Prevention||Vaccines, handwashing, not smoking|
|Medication||Antibiotics, antivirals, oxygen therapy|
|Frequency||450 million (7%) per year|
|Deaths||Four million per year|
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung primarily affecting the small air sacs known as alveoli. Symptoms typically include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing. The severity of the condition is variable.
Pneumonia is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria, and less commonly by other microorganisms. Identifying the responsible pathogen can be difficult. Diagnosis is often based on symptoms and physical examination. Chest X-rays, blood tests, and culture of the sputum may help confirm the diagnosis. The disease may be classified by where it was acquired, such as community- or hospital-acquired or healthcare-associated pneumonia.
Risk factors for pneumonia include cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sickle cell disease, asthma, diabetes, heart failure, a history of smoking, a poor ability to cough (such as following a stroke), and a weak immune system.
Vaccines to prevent certain types of pneumonia (such as those caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, linked to influenza, or linked to COVID-19) are available. Other methods of prevention include hand washing to prevent infection, not smoking, and social distancing.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Pneumonia believed to be due to bacteria is treated with antibiotics. If the pneumonia is severe, the affected person is generally hospitalized. Oxygen therapy may be used if oxygen levels are low.
Each year, pneumonia affects about 450 million people globally (7% of the population) and results in about 4 million deaths. With the introduction of antibiotics and vaccines in the 20th century, survival has greatly improved. Nevertheless, pneumonia remains a leading cause of death in developing countries, and also among the very old, the very young, and the chronically ill. Pneumonia often shortens the period of suffering among those already close to death and has thus been called “the old man’s friend”.
Prevention of Pneumonia
Prevention includes vaccination, environmental measures, and appropriate treatment of other health problems. It is believed that, if appropriate preventive measures were instituted globally, mortality among children could be reduced by 400,000; and, if proper treatment were universally available, childhood deaths could be decreased by another 600,000.
Vaccination for Pneumonia
Vaccination prevents against certain bacterial and viral pneumonias both in children and adults. Influenza vaccines are modestly effective at preventing symptoms of influenza, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends yearly influenza vaccination for every person 6 months and older. Immunizing health care workers decreases the risk of viral pneumonia among their patients.
Medications for Pneumonia
When influenza outbreaks occur, medications such as amantadine or riman adine may help prevent the condition, but they are associated with side effects. Zanamivir or oseltamivir decrease the chance that people who are exposed to the virus will develop symptoms; however, it is recommended that potential side effects are taken into account