5 Things to know this world pneumonia day
Created by Dr Shafi Kolhapure Updated on Nov 16, 2017
Reports and studies have shown that pneumonia is one of the leading causes of deaths among children under the age of five. It is so disheartening to see that despite there being ways to protect your child against it, pneumonia cause high mortality rates in toddlers and young children. So, on this World Pneumonia Day, I would like to make you understand what pneumonia is, what pneumococcal diseases are and how serious are they for your child. But, before that I would like to tell you about what is World Pneumonia Day and why is it celebrated on November 12.
What Is World Pneumonia Day?
World Pneumonia day is celebrated across the world every year on November 12th to build support for fighting against Pneumonia, a leading cause of death and suffering in young children, under 5 years of age. I am sure you may have heard of Pneumonia- it is a common respiratory illness affecting kids everywhere. It can be caused by bacteria or viruses. It is also the most common serious form of pneumococcal disease.
What Is Pneumococcal Disease?
Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. Pneumococcal disease can be serious, it may lead to.
- Pneumonia (infection of lungs)
- Bacterial Meningitis (Infection of the protective layers covering the brain and spinal cord)
- Septicaemia (Infection in the bloodstream)
- Acute Otitis Media (infection of the middle ear)
How Can My Child Get Pneumococcal Disease?
The Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can enter your child’s body through the nose. It usually lives in the nose and throat and remains harmless. It spreads by sneezing, coughing and close contact. The signs and symptoms can be different depending on the type of infection.
Is Pneumococcal Disease Serious?
Most cases of pneumococcal infections are mild however it can be serious in some cases and may even cause death in young children. Pneumococcal pneumonia which as we saw in the previous question is a type of pneumococcal disease. In India, each year approximately one lakh children under 5 years of age die due to pneumococcal pneumonia.
How Can You Protect Your Child From Pneumococcal Disease?
There are few things you can do to protect your child from pneumococcal disease.
- Adequate nutrition: healthy food and ensuring adequate nutrition of your child will help in developing your child’s well-functioning immune system and protect your child from pneumococcal disease
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months: this is the most important component of adequate nutrition. Infants who are exclusively breastfed have lower risk of infection and severe disease
- Hygiene and sanitation: maintaining good hygiene and sanitation can help prevent the spread of pneumococcal infection. Steps could include washing your child’s hands regularly, especially after touching nose or mouth. Make sure your child coughs and sneezes into a tissue and throws it away
- Vaccination: after vaccination, if your child comes into contact with the disease-causing bacteria, your child’s immune system will be able to recognize them and immediately produce antibodies to fight against them
So today you have read about why World PneumoniaDay is celebrated and what is meant by pneumonia and pneumococcal disease. Let us join together and spread these messages to protect our children!
Disclaimer:This article is for public awareness only.For any medical queries please consult your pediatrician Public health initiative by GSK on World Pneumonia Day. Zinc no: IN/SYN/0037/17