Today is World Pnemonia Day. Every year on 12 November there is a global drive to raise awareness about pneumonia.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection that causes a build up of fluid in the tissue of the lungs. It is most commonly caused by viruses or bacteria, and is the world’s leading infectious killer of adults and children.
In 2019 pneumonia claimed the lives of 2.5 million people, including 672,000 children under the age of five.
Millions more people are at risk of infection and death as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflict. The most vulnerable are the very young and the very old. Air pollution and smoking are responsible for nearly half of the estimated 1.6 million pneumonia deaths among adults over the age of 50.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can vary – with fever, cough, and sputum production being the most common. There are also additional symptoms that may be present such as chest pain, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and confusion.
Although pneumonia can be treated, it is always better to look at prevention. Prevention strategies include implementing vaccination programmes, ensuring good nutrition and addressing environmental factors such as indoor and outdoor pollution. Many of the populations dangerously exposed to pneumonia live in a group of low- and middle-income countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These are areas where there are declining vaccination rates, rising malnutrition and where polluting fuels are used for cooking and heating homes.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapists play an important part in the care and treatment of people with pneumonia. Their role is to assist with airway clearance and to ease breathing difficulties. They do this through education and hands on treatment. Physiotherapists may give advice on positioning and breathing techniques as well as helping people to increase their exercise tolerance and improve their mobility. It can be scary to tackle even the basics of everyday tasks when you cannot breath!
What You Can Do?
Raising awareness of Pneumonia will save lives! Learn more by visiting our Physiopedia page on Pneumonia – As well as rehabilitation advice you can learn more about risk factors, signs and symptoms, complications, what the numbers mean, how it is diagnosed and how it is managed.
Everyone has a role to play in ending pneumonia deaths by 2030. Spread the word on Social Media to help #StopPneumonia #EveryBreathCounts