‘Vaccines available to prevent pneumonia’

Pneumonia, despite being a preventable and treatable disease, affects 155 million children under the age of five and kills 1.6 million each year, thereby becoming the leading cause of death for children in this age group.

Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. The air sacs in the lungs get filled with fluid, making it difficult for the infected person to breathe. World Pneumonia day is observed every year on November 12 to raise awareness on the disease, to promote interventions to protect against, prevent, and to treat pneumonia.

Pneumonia can occur due to a change in weather, environment and body temperature. Staying in the cold, eating or drinking can also cause pneumonia. Children below five years of age and adults above 60 are prone to pneumonia due to their low immunity, said Dr. K.S. Phaneendra Kumar, consultant pulmonologist at KIMS ICON Hospital.

The symptoms of this disease include sudden high fever (pain in chest), excessive sweating and urination, headache, excessive thirst, face mouth and eye redness, dry cough, difficulty lying on the back, swelling in the lungs, speed of pulse, bleeding with mucus and weakness due to loss of appetite.

There are effective vaccines against the two most common bacterial causes of deadly pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza type B and Streptococcus pneumoniae, Dr. Phaneendra Kumar added.

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