Pneumonia is a respiratory infection caused by viruses (respiratory syncytial virus, sars-cov-2), bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type b), and fungi (Pneumocystis jiroveci). It affects the alveoli (small sacs that form the lungs); in healthy people, they fill with air when you breathe, but in people with pneumonia, they are filled with fluid and pus, which makes breathing painful and decreases oxygen absorption.
How it affects the population
Pneumonia is the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide, especially in children under 5 years old. It not only affects children, but also their families. It is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Currently and due to the pandemic we are going through, the pneumonia that causes COVID-19 has claimed many deaths. A study is being carried out to determine the real incidence of this infection in patients with COVID-19, this study concludes in March 2021. We know that in 10% -20% of cases, the respiratory disease is so serious that it requires intubation and mechanical ventilation. About 3% die.
Although the symptoms are usually the same, viral pneumonia outnumbers bacterial pneumonia.
Children under the age of 5 may not show signs of being infected. Or, manifest symptoms of the aforementioned. They may also be restless or tired, without energy and not wanting to eat.
En people over 65 years the body temperature may be lower than normal, they may suffer disorientation or changes in mental perception among the common symptoms.
Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Hospitalization is recommended only in severe cases.
Prevention according to WHO and UNICEF
El WHO and UNICEF Global Action Plan for Pneumonia Prevention and Control (GAPP) aims to accelerate pneumonia control by combining various interventions for the protection, prevention and treatment of the disease in children, with measures such as the following:
- Protecting children from pneumonia, among other things by promoting exclusive breastfeeding and the habit of washing hands and reducing indoor air pollution.
- Prevention of pneumonia through vaccination, hand washing with soap, reduction of household air pollution, HIV prevention, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis in HIV-infected or exposed children.
- Treatment of pneumonia, Above all, ensuring that all sick children have access to correct health care (provided by a community health worker or in a health center when the condition is serious) and receive the antibiotics and oxygen they need to heal.
Bilateral pneumonia due to COVID-19
Detection of pneumonia has been one of the key symptoms to identify a COVID-19 infection. The term bilateral indicates that both lungs are affected, but the symptoms, treatment, and prevention are the same.