November 12 is World Pneumonia Day, a disease that wreaks havoc in underdeveloped countries.
The risk groups are usually the elderly and, above all, children who in most cases do not receive adequate treatment in time.
For this reason, this day arises from a need to raise awareness about a disease that stands as "one of the leading causes of infant mortality worldwide ", according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Pneumonia is a acute respiratory infection It affects the lungs. As the WHO indicates, when a child has pneumonia, his lungs are filled with pus and fluid. This "makes breathing painful and limits oxygen absorption."
There is not only one infectious agent cause this disease They exist from viruses, to bacteria and fungi. Although it would be too extensive to expose them all, WHO presents the following as the most common:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae: a bacterium that is usually the most common cause.
- Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib): a bacterium that is the second most common cause of pneumonia.
- Syncytial Virus: one of the most frequent viruses in the case of viral pneumonias.
- Pneumocystis jiroveci: a fungus responsible for "one in four deaths of HIV-positive infants".
As we have seen, pneumonia can have different causes. Therefore, it is important to know this disease and know In what ways can it be prevented or treated?.
How do you get pneumonia?
Pneumonia has different ways of contracting. The most common are viruses or bacteria They can be found naturally in the airways, nose and throat. When inhaled, they reach the lungs and cause infection.
Another common way to get pneumonia has to with the small drops that can be expelled when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Acquiring the habit of putting your hands in front of your mouth and washing them is important. However, children do not have it properly consolidated.
The last of the ways in which you can get this disease is Through the blood. This is especially important if we talk about the fungus Pneumocystis jiroveci, since the mother infected with HIV can transmit the disease and pneumonia. As the WHO points out, this happens "in childbirth and in the immediate aftermath".
Treatment and prevalence of the disease
The common treatment to fight pneumonia is antibioticsNormally, amoxicillin, which is taken orally. However, only in the most severe cases hospitalization may be required to treat this disease much more efficiently. Remember that pneumonia can be fatal.
However, it is appropriate to take some preventive measures consisting of get vaccinated against pneumococcus. Also, as noted by WHO, children who are infected with HIV should consume the antibiotic cotrimoxazole daily to prevent this disease.
Although pneumonia can be suffered by anyone, its prevalence is higher in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In addition, "only one third of children receive the antibiotics they need." But, let's not forget that this disease is also suffered by adults and the elderly, so getting vaccinated will be important to prevent infection.
Nowadays, progress is still being made to further reduce the chances of contracting this disease, improve protection measures for risk groups and treat pneumonia more effectively.