The End of Pneumonia

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Pneumonia–even the word is enough to give us chills. The moment you hear it, our mind conjures up images of dingy hospital rooms and the glum atmosphere.

Pneumonia, for those not familiar, is a condition of inflammation of the lungs. It can be caused by different bacteria, viruses and sometimes, even fungi! And while everyone is susceptible to it, the age groups most affected by it are children and adults over 65 years of age due to the weak immune systems.

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The most shocking thing is that despite the various treatments available, the disease still claims the lives of 1.5 million children worldwide every year! And that is after accounting for the fact most of the pneumonia patients are successfully treated with no complications!

Over the past couple of years, doctors have been trying to find out various medications that could reduce and potentially end this disease. Of course, the treatment depends on the cause and severity of it but in most cases, it can be treated in 2-3 weeks. An early diagnosis also goes a long way in timely identification and treatment.

But thanks to science, scientists may have discovered a way to save us from pneumonia after all.

Traditional vaccines have reduced the mortality rate due to the disease by targeting up to 23 of the disease-causing bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. In the lab tests, this new vaccine deals even a more devastating blow by targeting 72 forms of S Pneumoniae—including the previous 23 (talk about being effective!). It is said to provide the comprehensive coverage from pneumonia till date.

What’s more is that the traditional vaccines remove all the bacteria from the body. But now we know that not all bacteria is bad. Some are crucial to maintaining gut health and boosting the immune system. The new vaccine watches over the bacteria and attacks only when one breaks away from the colony to mutate and cause illness. So, the harmless bacteria are not killed and the harmful bacteria don’t have space to survive.

According to the study’s co-author, Blaine Pfeifer, the vaccine may be our answer for protection, not only against Pneumonia but also meningitis, sepsis and other related diseases.

The human trials for the vaccine are yet to begin.

While this new advancement provides us hope for ending pneumonia in the future, the question s what can you do in the present to prevent it?

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Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to go to the moon or climb the Everest. Preventing this disease can be very easy if you follow the following steps

  • Stop smoking. Since smoking weakens your lungs, you more susceptible to the disease
  • Get vaccinated. With the whole “vaccines vs. No vaccines debate” that going on, you may be tempted to skimp out on it. DONT. It’s been proven that people who are vaccinated against pneumonia are t lower chances of getting it. And even if they do get it, it is in much milder form and for a much shorter duration.
  • Take your medication. Flu is one of the major reasons that might lead to pneumonia. With the flu season coming, it is important to protect yourself by taking your antibiotics and visiting the doctor on time if the symptoms persist.
  • Know the signs. You cannot fight an unknown enemy. Educating yourself on the symptoms of pneumonia will help you take steps to prevent it early on.
  • The last and simplest of ways is to wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap. This is pretty much ingrained into us but we still take it lightly.

Remember, preventing pneumonia is better than curing it…both for your pockets and your health.

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