World Pneumonia Day is an annual event observed every year on November 12 to raise awareness among people about deadly infection, endorse action plans to protect, prevent and treat pneumonia. This day was first established in the year 2009 by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia, this forum campaigns intervention across the globe to highlight solutions and need for resources to fight pneumonia.
Statistic reports reveal that pneumonia is the single largest infectious killer of adults and children, with about 2.5 million mortality, including 672,000 children, in 2019. This year with COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing rate of pneumonia deaths from coronavirus, which had added to 1.9 million death toll.
Several countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America are struggling with a huge burden of COVID-19 and child pneumonia death, the need of the hour is to formulate effective strategies to combat pneumonia and deadly coronavirus. This includes proper funding in infection prevention, such as availability of masks, hand washing and enhanced diagnosis and treatment with pulse oximetry and oxygen can do tremendous job during this pandemic and safeguard the lives of people beyond. This year's theme is “Let’s increase access to medical oxygen”, as oxygen has always been one of the lifesaving medicine and COVID-19 had taught the globe how essential oxygen is!
What Is Connection Between Coronavirus And Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection affecting one or both lungs caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, where the airways become inflamed and get filled with pus or fluid. This makes it hard to breathe, especially in kids. Some of the symptoms of pneumonia include cough with pus, fever chest pain, and chills.
A person can also develop pneumonia as a complication of viral infections such as COVID-19 or the flu or a common cold. Coronavirus disease begins when respiratory droplets carrying the virus enter the upper respiratory tract, where the virus multiplies and the infection advances to the lungs and possibly develop pneumonia.
COVID-19 infection can damage the alveoli and tissues in the lungs. Moreover, as the immune system combat virus, inflammation can lead to fluid and dead cells to accumulate in the lungs. These factors can impede the transfer of oxygen to the cells, resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.
Patients with COVID-19 induced pneumonia may also progress to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a progressive type of respiratory failure that develops when the air sacs in the lungs fill up with fluid and make breathing difficult. Patient with ARDS may need a ventilator to help them breathe.
Almost 15 % of COVID cases are serious, where the patients are treated with oxygen in the hospital and around 5% of people have critical infections and need ventilator support. Coronavirus can severely inflame the lungs and damages the cells and tissue that line air sacs. The damage leads to breakage of tissue and clogs the lungs, making it very tough for you to breathe.
How Is COVID-19 Induced Pneumonia Different From Regular Pneumonia?
The symptoms of COVID-19 induced pneumonia is quite similar to other viral types of pneumonia. This can make it difficult to diagnose your condition without being tested for COVID-19 or other respiratory infections.
Research is still underway to find out how COVID-19 induced pneumonia differs from other types of pneumonia. One study used CT scans and certain lab tests to compare the clinical feature of COVID-19 induced pneumonia to other types of pneumonia and findings show that
Pneumonia that affects both lungs as opposed to just one
Lungs showed a significant ground-glass appearance via CT scan
Abnormalities in liver function test
Who Are At Risk?
People who are 65 or older are more likely to get COVID-19 induced pneumonia, while those who are 85 or older are at the highest risk. People with other comorbid illness such as asthma, lung disease, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, liver and renal disease, obese and those with a compromised immune system are at a higher risk of developing COVID-19 induced pneumonia.
How Is COVID-19 Induced Pneumonia Diagnosed?
Doctor generally, diagnose COVID-19 induced pneumonia based on the symptoms and blood work results. Some of the blood tests include low lymphocytes and elevated C-reactive protein (CRP). Blood oxygen level may also be low. In addition, a chest CT scan can show patchy areas of damage in both the lungs named as ground glass.
Treatments For COVID-19 Induced Pneumonia
The main goal of treatment of COVID-19 induced pneumonia is to deliver proper supportive care, this mitigates symptoms and ensure that the patients is receiving adequate oxygen therapy. Severe cases may need the use of a ventilator. In some cases, people with viral pneumonia may develop a secondary bacterial infection, where antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infection. Intravenous fluid is also given to avert dehydration.
COVID-19 Induced Pneumonia Prevention
Following certain precautionary measures may help people to lower risk, as it is not possible to prevent COVID-19 induced pneumonia.
Continue to practice infection control measures like regular hand washing, social distancing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
Lead a disciplined lifestyle that can support to build a robust immune system, like staying hydrated, eating a wholesome diet and getting sound sleep.
People with comorbid disease condition should continue to manage their condition and should not miss out the prescribed medications.
If you fall sick with COVID-19, regularly monitor the symptoms and stay in touch with the healthcare provider. Seek immediate medical care if symptoms begin to worsen.