World Pneumonia Day is celebrated on November 12, every year by the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and several other international organisations to create awareness about Pneumonia. It is one of the leading causes of death in children under five years old despite being a preventable and treatable disease.About World Pneumonia Day
Pneumonia is the world’s biggest infectious killer. According to WHO it claims the lives of around 2.5 million people every year.
Pneumonia is an acute respiratory disease that affects the lungs and aggravates the air sacs of the lungs. This happens when the lungs(alveoli) are filled with discharge or liquids, making it painful and difficult for them to breathe. It can begin like a usual flu like illness and progress to the lungs to cause pneumonia.
*Cause and Spread*
Pneumonia is contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through fluids or from contaminated surfaces. Infectious agents may include bacteria, viruses and fungi.
These agents are-
1. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the cause of bacterial pneumonia in children mostly.
2. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia.
3. Viral cause of pneumonia is respiratory syncytial virus.
Mostly children under the age of 5 or with weak immune systems due to malnutrition, undernourishment, or other diseases, have a reduced ability to recover.
Adults above the age of 65 are also prone to the disease.
High fever and chills, physical weakness, cough with phlegm, a feeling of being unwell, shortness of breath and rapid breathing, chest pain, blood in sputum, low oxygen saturation below 94%, poor appetite and a racing pulse.
*Prevention and Vaccine*
Preventive measures include maintaining hygiene and getting vaccinations against certain pneumonia causing bacteria. Vaccine for Pneumonia caused by bacteria is 3 doses of the primary vaccine (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), under Universal Immunization.
Annual Flu vaccine must also be administered to prevent Influenza related pneumonia.
If over the counter medications for cold and flu do relieve all of your symptoms.
Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Sometimes patients need hospitalisation for intravenous antibiotic, nebulisation, supportive treatment. Treatment is individualised.
It should make you feel better within a few days.
Foods to eat in pneumonia
Add the following foods in your diet in controlling the symptoms of the infection.
Whole grains –
Proteins- nuts seeds beans eggs fish
Turmeric and Ginger have anti inflammatory properties
Probiotics improve immunity as well
Green leafy vegetables
These foods help in the healthy maintenance of the lungs and prevent the development of an infection in the respiratory tract. They also increase your immunity and help in fighting infection. You must have them along with the medicines prescribed by the doctor.
Drink plenty of fluids and give yourself lots of time to rest.