“Health is Wealth”
Globally, children under the age of five die due to various diseases. The world mortality rate of children under five years of age is 5.3 million in the year 2018 according to World Health Organization (WHO). According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), India was reported the highest in the number of deaths of children under the age of five with 8, 82,000. The most common cause of the death of children is “pneumonia.” UNICEF says that every day around 2,200 children of below 5 years dies due to pneumonia. To stand together and fight against pneumonia, the 12th November is termed as World Pneumonia Day.
So, what is pneumonia? What are the causes of pneumonia? What are the sign and symptoms of pneumonia? And how can it be treated and prevented? Let us discuss these in detail.
What is pneumonia?
WHO describes pneumonia as an acute respiratory infection which affects the lungs and makes it difficult to intake oxygen and breathe. The lungs are of various small air sacs known as alveoli. And when fluid or pus fills into the air sacs, it makes the breathing process difficult and limits the intake of oxygen.
What are the causes of pneumonia?
The causes of pneumonia are:
1. Virus: Viruses like influenza (Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)), cold virus, and respiratory syncytial virus.
2. Bacteria: Bacteria like streptococcus pneumonia, mycoplasma pneumonia.
4. Weak immune system
What are the signs and symptoms of pneumonia?
According to WHO the symptoms which indicate pneumonia are:
1. High fever
2. Rapid and difficult breathing
4. Chest in drawing in severe case.
7. Difficulty in feeding the child.
But remember if there is only a fever or only cough then it is not pneumonia. Pneumonia is when there is a fever or cough with rapid and difficult breathing.
Who are at a higher risk of pneumonia?
Children who are below five years of age are more prone to get pneumonia. Mostly, children who are below two years of age as their immune system are underdeveloped at this age.
How does a kid get pneumonia?
The children get pneumonia because of:
1. Lack of breastfeeding
2. Crowded living conditions
4. Exposure to indoor smoke that is, smoking cigarettes near them or smoke from burning fossil fuels.
5. Unhygienic living condition
What is the treatment for pneumonia?
Take your child to a pediatrician or doctor when you see the symptoms of pneumonia. According to the condition and severity of the infection, the doctor will recommend the possible solution. Antibiotics are prescribed to children with pneumonia. But in severe cases, the child needs to be hospitalized.
Along with medical treatment, how can you help your child recover from pneumonia?
1. Keep your child in open and airy areas, this will help the child in breathing properly and will improve the oxygen inflow.
2. Make sure that your child is hydrated, that is, the child must keep drinking water this will keep the body hydrated and will clear the passage of oxygen inflow.
3. Make sure to take the child to visit the doctor for follow-up.
4. Make sure the child is taking antibiotics on time and is continuing until the doctor recommends stopping it.
5. Make sure that your child is having hygiene habits on regular basis like washing hands regularly, taking bath regularly, wearing clean clothes, etc.
6. Make sure that your child is having proper rest because the child with pneumonia needs a lot of rest.
7. Make sure your child eats healthy foods and drink healthy beverages. Include fruits and vegetables as much as you can in their diet.
8. Make sure that while cough and sneeze the child use handkerchief or for infants you make sure to use a handkerchief to wipe out running nose. Also, make sure to wash hands regularly because pneumonia can spread through the droplets of cough and sneeze.
9. Make sure to keep the environment free from any kind of chemical smoke.
How can you prevent your child from pneumonia?
By following the below-mentioned tips you can help prevent the child from getting pneumonia.
1. Make sure to breastfeed your child for 6 months after giving birth. This helps the baby to have a better immune system which will prevent them from the diseases.
2. Make sure the vaccine is up to date. The vaccines will help the child’s body from developing infection and will also prevent them from infections like measles, influenza. Vaccines like the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) are to prevent pneumonia.
3. Make sure the environment is free from indoor smoke like smoke from burning fossil fuels or smoking cigarettes.
4. Last but not least maintains hygiene living. Teach the child the hygienic habits. This will help them from bacteria and viruses.
The WHO and UNICEF have also presented the Global Action Plan to control pneumonia which includes:
1. Protect: protecting children from pneumonia by breastfeeding the baby.
2. Prevent: preventing pneumonia by maintaining hygiene like washing hands, vaccination, and HIV prevention for the children infected with HIV. And by reducing the indoor air pollution that is in homes.
3. Treat: treating pneumonia by ensuring that every child has the access to health care.
Thus, although pneumonia is a life-threatening respiratory infection if it is severe in nature but it is treatable and preventable. So, have faith in the treatment and yourself and do not panic when you see your child with the illness. Make sure to keep your environment hygienic and healthy. Also, make sure to have a healthy diet not only for your child but also for yourself. Take the help of doctors and have proper treatment of the child. The most important thing to make sure your child is up to date with the required vaccines. Also, make sure that you breastfeed your newborn baby for 6 months. Let’s make the world free from pneumonia and make the children grow with good health.