WORLD PNEUMONIA DAY
On November 12th, World Pneumonia Day raises awareness for this deadly disease. It’s also a day that the world takes a stand and demands action for the fight against pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to become filled with fluid or pus. When this occurs, oxygen levels are reduced and breathing becomes very difficult. Each year, this infectious disease claims the lives of 2.5 million people throughout the world. This number includes 672,000 children. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5. One of the leading risk factors for pneumonia is air pollution. Nearly one-third of all pneumonia deaths are attributed to polluted air. Deadly air pollution not only occurs outdoors but indoors as well.
Infants, children, and seniors over the age of 65 are at the greatest risk of dying from pneumonia. Children are more susceptible to getting pneumonia from indoor air pollution. Many developing countries cook with wood, charcoal, dung, and coal on open fires. All of these things cause indoor air pollution. Other things that pollute indoor air include tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, asbestos, paint, mold, dust, and synthetic fragrances. Causes for outdoor air pollution include exhaust from vehicles and pollutants emitted by industries.
Pneumonia by the Numbers
In the United States, one million people get pneumonia each year. Pneumonia causes 400,000 hospitalizations. More than 20,000 people die each year from pneumonia in the U.S. Pneumonia is much more prevalent and more deadly in poorer countries. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are where some of the highest death rates of pneumonia occur. In 2017, more than half of all childhood deaths from pneumonia occurred in these five countries:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
Both children and the elderly often require hospitalization when they get pneumonia. This is one reason that so many people in poorer countries die from pneumonia. These countries all have poor health care and those that live there cannot afford treatment for pneumonia. Despite the fact that pneumonia claims the life of a child every 50 seconds, it remains a neglected disease.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldPneumoniaDay
Healthcare organizations around the world hold events on this day to educate the general public about the causes of pneumonia and the dangers of this respiratory disease. Hospitals and healthcare workers urge people the get vaccinated against pneumonia. You can participate by donating to an organization that funds research for pneumonia. Learn what you can do to decrease outdoor and indoor air pollution.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldPneumoniaDay.
WORLD PNEUMONIA DAY HISTORY
A coalition of global health leaders launched the first World Pneumonia Day in 2009.