LivingThings You Should Know About Pneumonia

Things You Should Know About Pneumonia

Pneumonia, popularly known by the name of pneumonia , is an inflammation of the lung or a part of it generally caused by the pneumococcal bacteria , although it can also be caused by the respiratory syncytial virus or by fungi. On November 12 of each year, World Pneumonia Day is celebrated, an initiative promoted by the World Coalition against Childhood Pneumonia that tries to make the population aware of the danger that this disease can pose. To collaborate to this end, we show you some information about the disease :

Pneumonia is the leading cause of infant death worldwide . According to data from the World Health Organization, it accounts for about 15% of all deaths in children under five years of age. In 2016, this accounted for nearly 1 million children who died from pneumonia.

It is a respiratory infection that, among its symptoms, causes inflammation and redness of the lung tissue , making breathing difficult and more painful . It also usually leads to a cough with bloody mucus, chest pain, night sweats, fever, chills, or weight loss. Prompt diagnosis is vital so that it does not develop into a serious and fatal disease.

Experts distinguish between two types of existing pneumonia caused by the pneumococcus or Streptococcus pneumoniae . The difference lies in whether or not the bacteria reach the bloodstream , since if it infects the blood the infection is called bacteremic and represents between 25% and 45% of all cases . These cases have a mortality rate three times higher than non-bacteremic pneumonia.

In addition to children, the other population that is at risk of the disease becoming a serious and even fatal pathology is people over 50 years of age due to the weaker immune system and the greater vulnerability of the lungs to possible bacteria and virus attacks . Obviously, those with chronic diseases such as COPD, diabetes or HIV (although not directly related to the respiratory system) are especially sensitive to pneumonia .

It is estimated that 70% of registered cases could be prevented with vaccines and antibiotics, which, according to the United Nations Regional Information Center for Western Europe (UNRIC), represent a cost of less than 80 cents per person . The WHO recommends protective measures in the case of children (promoting breastfeeding, washing hands or reducing indoor air pollution ) to reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that are accompanied by complementary prevention and treatment actions.

The former spokesperson for the World Health Organization in 2015, Tarik Jašareviæ , stated that “ pneumonia can have a viral or bacteriological origin , or be a combination of both factors, and only that caused by bacteria can be prevented with vaccines and treated with antibiotics ”. Although in reality, according to the WHO’s own data, in many cases pneumonia is a consequence of poor treatment of other diseases such as measles or whooping cough.

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