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Pneumonia: Most infectious killer of infants worldwide-Medics

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Pneumonia is the most infectious killer of infants world wide, medics have warned.

The medics are joining their voices to raise awareness on the disease as the world observe world pneumonia day under the theme: “Stop Pneumonia: invest in child health “.

According to an analysis conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and aid group Save the Children, pneumonia is likely to kill 11 million children under 5 years of age, by the year 2030. In developed countries, pneumonia is likely to affect the elderly, while in the developing nations, it is the children who are affected by pneumonia. The study also mentioned that countries like Nigeria and India are will carry highest burden of pneumonia, with 1.7 million estimated deaths.

The aforementioned study also mentioned that wider coverage of pneumonia vaccination along with cheaper antibiotics and proper nutrition can help in saving lives of 4.1 million children.

Pneumonia is essentially a lung infection which can be serious and life-threatening. The infection can be viral, bacterial or fungal. It causes inflammation in lungs, wherein alveoli or tiny air sacs inside lungs get filled with liquid.

The key to treating pneumonia and prevent it from getting fatal is early diagnosis and a relatively strong immune system. However, it has to be noted that young children who are weak because of malnutrition are the ones most hit by pneumonia. Pneumonia kills more infants than measles, diarrhoea and malaria combined.

Symptoms of pneumonia

First symptoms of pneumonia are similar to that of cold or flu. This is followed by high fever, sputum, chills and cough. The infection results in rusty or green phlegm, shortness of breath, chest pain which worsens with taking deep breaths, fatigue and weakness, shortness of breath, muscle pain and headache. A person suffering from pneumonia is likely to get purplish skin colour because of poorly oxygenated blood. Symptoms of pneumonia can range in severity depending on the type of pneumonia and its underlying health condition.

Treatment of pneumonia

Pneumonia treatment will depend on its severity. Bacterial kinds of pneumonia can be treated with the help of antibiotics. Viral kinds of pneumonia can be treated by taking plenty of rest and lots of fluids. Fungal pneumonia infections can be treated with the help of antifungal medications. Some over-the-counter medications can help in reducing fever, pains and suppressing cough.

The most effective way of treating pneumonia is by taking rest and drinking fluids. It is important to stay hydrated in order to thin phlegm and mucus and cough it up. Pneumonia patients are likely to be hospitalised if they have a weak immune system or any other serious illness.

On World Penumonia Day 2018, let us make an effort towards spreading awareness about the life threatening condition and how to prevent it from getting worse.

*NDTV

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