From Colds to Pneumonia: Understanding the Difference and Staying Healthy
Pneumonia on a Global Scale
Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that affects people of all ages worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia kills nearly 1 million children under the age of 5 every year, making it the leading infectious cause of death for children in this age group globally.
- In adults, pneumonia is a major cause of death for those over 65 years of age.
- Pneumonia can often be prevented with vaccines and can usually be treated with a course of antibiotics.
- On World Pneumonia Day, we raise awareness about this preventable and treatable disease in the hopes of driving action to combat pneumonia on a global scale and save lives.
Preventing Pneumonia and the Role of Vaccination
The best way to prevent pneumonia is through vaccination. Many types of pneumonia can now be prevented through immunization, especially for children and older adults.
- Adults over 65 should get the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines .They provide protection against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia for older people.
- Consider the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) and chickenpox vaccine (varicella) which can also help prevent pneumonia.
- Ask your doctor about other pneumonia vaccines you may need based on your age, health conditions, lifestyle or occupation.
- Practice good hygiene like washing your hands frequently, covering coughs and staying home when sick to avoid exposure to viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia.
While pneumonia can be a serious lung infection, immunization and prevention are key. Talk to your doctor today about what vaccines are right for you and your loved ones. With the right prevention, we can all work together to save lives.
Recognizing Symptoms and Seeking Timely Care
As pneumonia progresses, you may experience:
- Chest pain when breathing or coughing
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Fatigue and low energy
- Fever, chills, or sweating
- Loss of appetite or nausea
If pneumonia is caused by bacteria, symptoms usually come on suddenly. Viral pneumonia symptoms may appear more gradually.
See your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of pneumonia in yourself or a loved one. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics or antiviral drugs can help prevent complications.
Promoting Lung Health via Hygiene and Nutrition
Promoting good lung health starts with simple hygiene and nutrition. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly to avoid transmitting bacteria and viruses that can infect your lungs. Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent spreading germs to others.
Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated to keep your lungs functioning properly. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Lack of sleep and dehydration can make you more susceptible to lung infections.
Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excess salt, sugar, and red or processed meat. Limit alcohol and avoid tobacco use, as these can damage your lungs over time.
Making healthy choices and building good habits are the best ways to maintain lung health and reduce your risk of respiratory diseases like pneumonia. Every step you take to strengthen your immunity and optimize your wellbeing is worth the effort.
The Intersection of COVID-19 and Pneumonia
COVID-19 and pneumonia attack the lungs, and having one disease can increase susceptibility to the other. In some cases, COVID-19 leads to pneumonia as a secondary infection, making symptoms more severe and recovery more difficult. The symptoms for both include cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
With many hospitals dealing with a lot of patients and focusing on fighting COVID-19 ,pneumonia cases may go undiagnosed or untreated.
So there you have it. World Pneumonia Day is November 12th, a day to raise awareness about the world’s leading infectious killer of children under 5. As you’ve learned, pneumonia claims the lives of nearly 1 million children every year, most of whom are in developing countries and die from preventable causes. By raising awareness of pneumonia and supporting organizations fighting this disease, you can help ensure more children have the chance to grow up healthy and strong. Spread the word about World Pneumonia Day on your social media, donate to reputable charities and encourage government leaders to make fighting pneumonia a higher priority. Together, we can all work to make pneumonia yesterday’s problem instead of today’s crisis. The power is in your hands, so do your part and help make a difference. Our children deserve nothing less.