Disease is said to be the third leading cause of death in Korea which makes a big difference when you think of it as a cold…

ⓒ News1 Designer Choi Soo-ah

Disease is said to be the third leading cause of death in Korea which makes a big difference when you think of it as a cold...

During the afternoon of the 12th, when the national influenza (flu) vaccination for the elderly aged 75 and over began, a ‘vaccination notice’ is hung at Bon Hospital in Dongjak-gu, Seoul. 2022.10.12/News 1 ⓒ News Reporter 1 Hwang Ki-seon

(Seoul = News 1) Reporter Kang Seung-ji = Although the risks are not well known, such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, there are respiratory diseases that are scary enough for those with weakened immune systems. You can think of Corona 19, but ‘pneumonia’ has been targeting the immune vulnerable for longer than this.

According to statistics on the cause of death in 2021 from the National Statistical Office, 22,821 people died of pneumonia. It has 44.4 per 100,000 of the population, which is third after cancer (161.1) and heart disease (61.5), more than cerebrovascular disease (44). In 2011, at 17.2 cases per 100,000 of the population, the 6th leading cause of death was a gradually increasing disease.

Professor Kwon Byung-soo of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Seoul National University’s Bundang Hospital emphasized on the 9th, “Pneumonia occurs at any age, and especially in children and the elderly over 65, it is often cause serious conditions, so prevention and control are very important.”

Meanwhile, November 12 every year is ‘World Pneumonia Day’ established in 2009 by the Global Coalition for Childhood Pneumonia (TGCCP) with the purpose of raising awareness and awareness of the dangers of pneumonia and promoting prevention and treatment pneumonia Day).

◇ Inflammation of the ‘air sac’ in the lungs… “It hurts to breathe”

There are about 300 to 500 million tiny air sacs (alveoli) attached to the lungs like bunches of grapes, and pneumonia is a condition where these air sacs become inflamed.

Every time we breathe in, our air sacs expand. Pneumonia fills these pockets with pus and fluid, making breathing difficult and labored.

Generally, the most common cause of pneumonia is a bacterial infection called ‘pneumococcus’. It is known that more than 40% of all bacterial pneumonia is caused by pneumococcus, and the incidence rate is high in winter.

When you get pneumonia, the normal protective function of the lungs is reduced, and fever, cough and phlegm appear. The sputum is often sticky and yellow in colour, and in severe cases, it is stained with blood.

Professor Kwon Byung-soo explained, “If the pleura surrounding the lungs becomes inflamed, chest pain is felt when breathing, digestive symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headache, and fatigue also appear.”

◇ In the early stages of symptoms, it is mistaken for a simple cold… Get vaccinated and boost your immunity

Professor Kwon said the early symptoms of pneumonia are similar to those of a cold, so it is easy to mistake it for a simple cold. However, the fever is higher than the chill, the chills are regular, and they often last a long time.

He emphasized visiting hospitals and clinics, saying, “If it is mistaken for a simple cold and missed, it can lead to breathing difficulties and even death.”

In healthy adults, when they receive antibiotics, their symptoms improve, but people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, do not recover easily from pneumonia and suffer other complications. In severe cases, sepsis or shock ensues.

Pneumococcal vaccines and flu shots (seasonal flu) are the only way to prevent pneumonia. In particular, adequate rest including hand washing, maintaining proper nutrition, and personal hygiene are fundamental.

Professor Kwon said, “Pneumonia enters through the mouth, so it is important to keep oral hygiene clean.”

Seniors over the age of 65 who have never been vaccinated against pneumococcus can get the pneumococcal vaccine free of charge at public health centers and designated government medical institutions throughout the country.

If the flu is severe, you can get pneumonia, so getting the flu vaccine can help prevent pneumonia.

The national target for vaccination against flu this year is △children 6 months to 13 years old △pregnant women and △the elderly aged 65 or over.

Professor Kwon said, “Pneumonia is an airborne infectious disease. It is necessary to provide adequate nutrition through daily eating habits, exercise, and regular life, and strive to improve immunity.”

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