In an age of rising diseases and risky lifestyles, health is one of the biggest concerns a common man has for his family, and especially for his kids. Of course, health insurance for the family, such as that available on Finserv MARKETS becomes paramount in this situation to manage the rising costs of healthcare. At the same time, you also need to be informed about the major fatal diseases that children can acquire. One of the most dangerous killers is pneumonia.
Pneumonia is the biggest cause of death for children under the age of five, all over the world.
In 2015, 16% of all deaths of children under five years of age were caused by pneumonia. A child dies from the respiratory disease every 20 seconds, even though it is preventable and treatable.
Hence, World Pneumonia Day has been observed every year on November 12 to raise awareness, promote interventions, and generate action to prevent pneumonia.
Source: Indian Express
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can range from mild to severe. It causes the alveoli or air sacs in your lungs to fill with fluid or pus. This it what makes it hard for you to breathe in enough oxygen, and the oxygen doesn’t reach your bloodstream. Pneumonia can affect one of both lungs. It is caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If it is bacterial or viral, it can spread to other people around you as well.
Although anyone can be prone to pneumonia, children under the age of two and senior citizens over the age of 65 are at higher risk. Their immune systems might not be able to fight against it. For adults, the risk of pneumonia is increased in cases of habits like smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
Symptoms of pneumonia in children
- Cough that produces mucus
- Cough pain
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Fast or hard breathing
How does it spread?
Pneumonia can spread in different ways. When the viruses or bacteria commonly present in a child’s nose or throat are inhaled, they can affect the lungs. Pneumonia may also spread through air-borne droplets from a cough or phlegm. It can also spread through blood during birth.
Is there a vaccine for pneumonia?
Yes, the pneumonia vaccine is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). It was introduced by the government in 2014 under Mission Indradhanush, which aims to strengthen the vaccination programme and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace. A study estimates that this pneumonia vaccine in India can prevent more than 2 million hospitalisations, 400,000 deaths, and $50 million in healthcare costs in just 10 years.
How does the PCV work?
Pneumonia is caused by a type of bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. These bacteria have antigens with an outer layer of sugar-like substances called polysaccharides. These polysaccharides disguise the antigen or foreign substance that has entered the body, making it difficult for the child’s developing immune system to tackle it. The conjugate pneumonia vaccine PCV connects or conjugates the polysaccharides to antigens that the immune system will react to and thus prevent further action.
PCV 13, the pneumonia vaccine in India, protects the body against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It encourages your body to produce antibodies against pneumococcal bacteria. The proteins produced by the body to fight disease carrying organisms are called antibodies. If you are infected with bacteria, antibodies prevent their effect on the body in the form of illness.
Are there any side effects of the pneumonia vaccine?
The possible side effects are
- Redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot is given
- Fever higher than 100.4 F
- Occasional incidence of fussiness, drowsiness, or loss of appetite
As much as we take extra care of our children and protect them against diseases, the environment that we live in is highly risky. Sometimes disease can strike suddenly without warning. We need to be well prepared to fight it if and when it happens to us or our family. A Bajaj Allianz health insurance cover is probably the best preparation that you can do towards this end. A good option to check out would be family health insurance, available on Finserv MARKETS, which offers benefits like pre and post-hospitalization cover and medical coverage from upto 50 lakhs. Of course, health insurance is only an addition to regular health check ups and maintenance of healthy habits in day-to-day life. When all of your bases are covered, your family is bound to be safer and healthier.
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