Give your lungs the love and attention they deserve.
World Pneumonia Day falls on the 12th of November every year. It is celebrated worldwide in the hopes of spreading awareness about pneumonia, which is a condition that is often overlooked because of the symptoms that appear to be harmless at first.
Caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that usually affects children under the age of 5 and adults over the age of 65 as well as cigarette smokers (who are at a higher risk). As a result, these pathogens cause the air sacs in the lungs, or alveoli, to be inflamed. The alveoli will then fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.
Pneumonia is a preventable disease that can save lives given the right medical attention in the early stages. Here are some fascinating facts and figures about pneumonia that you need to know about.
Types of Pneumonia
- Bacterial Pneumonia
Can affect anyone at any age and is able to develop on its own after a serious cold or flu.
- Viral Pneumonia
Children and the elderly are at a higher risk at being exposed by this type of pneumonia.
- Mycoplasma Pneumonia
Although not a virus or bacteria, it does have traits that are common to both and generally causes mild cases of pneumonia mostly in older children and young adults.
- Chest pain
- Shaking chills
- Dry cough
- Muscle aches
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
Symptoms considered to be a medical emergency
- Skin with bluish tone (from lack of oxygen)
- Blood in sputum (coughed-up mucus)
- Laboured breathing
- High fever (39 degrees C or higher)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Get vaccinated
- Wash your hands as frequently as possible
- Quit smoking
- Be aware of your general health by monitoring what you eat, whether you get sufficient sleep and enough exercise
- Taking antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, can prevent the majority of pneumonia deaths, but always refer to your doctor.
Facts about Pneumonia
- As of May 2014, according to a data from WHO (World Health Organization), pneumonia and influenza is ranked as the 3rd cause of death in Malaysia with 11,773 deaths with pneumonia and influenza collectively contributing to 9.2% of the total deaths in 2010.
- In 2015, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, stated that more than 900,000 children die each year from this preventable and curable disease, however it is forecasted that between 2016-2020 Gavi’s pneumococcal vaccines should avert more than 600,000 additional deaths
- Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life and adequate nutrition can protect babies from pneumonia.
Are you at risk?
- Have you had a stroke?
- Do you have a weak immune system?
- Do you smoke and drink excessively?
- Do you have certain medical conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, or heart failure?
Always monitor yourself and your loved ones and make sure you never take a simple flu or cough lightly.