India accounts for 20% of the global cases of pneumonia. Despite the recent introduction of the vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia. The benefits of vaccination with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) also reduces the likelihood of developing pneumonia and other illnesses caused by pneumococcus, including mild infections of the ear or throat and serious illnesses like meningitis or infections of the blood. Pneumonia is the inflammation of the lungs and is usually caused by various risk factors- asthma, air pollution, catching the flu or chronic illness that weakens the immune system. Since pregnant women have suppressed the immune system, they are more susceptible to ailments like pneumonia. This has been termed as maternal pneumonia. Due to the worrisome status of maternal health in India, 1.8 lakh people succumb to the ill effects of pneumonia.
Maternal pneumonia and the unborn child
Pneumonia is a perfectly curable disease with intensive vaccinations available, a pregnant woman affected with pneumonia creates deficits in the baby. Maternal pneumonia has been associated with low birth weight and premature babies that might have some Although developmental deficits. People commonly mistake pneumonia to be flu and usually ignore its symptoms. But contracting pneumonia has intense symptoms of vomiting, excessive fatigue, sore throat, chills or loss of appetite. This might result in harming the unborn child. Due to ignorance and mistaking it as a pregnancy symptom, victims don’t get to detect the infection until later. This might lead to further complications with the mother as well as the child’s health.
What are the risk factors contributing to pneumonia?
The reasons are varied from asthma to being infected by flu. But in India a more worrisome cause is anemia. More than 48% of women in India under the reproductive age suffer from anemia. This particularly is common amongst adolescent girls and young women. The other risk factors include smoking habits, recovery from chicken pox or having a weak immune system. It is natural for expecting women to have a reduced immune system for protecting the infant. This results in reduced lung capacity and can result in pneumonia. Due to the severe rise in air pollution, lung capacity can also be compromised. Thus air pollution can lead to infections further resulting in pneumonia. Pregnant women are highly susceptible to developing the infection.
Intensive vaccination and adult vaccines
The intensive programs of the government to immunize every child by 2018 are commendable under the program of Mission Indradhanush. India is more commonly infected with pneumococcal pneumonia that especially affects children below 5 years. Thus vaccination is non-negotiable. What the general population doesn’t know is the availability of adult vaccinations. The immunity boosters can aid in refreshing the body’s metabolism. Pneumonia is not life-threatening if the timely diagnosis is done. Through the administration of anti-bacterial therapy paired with pain-killers for relieving fever can aid in recovery. Exercising and nutritious diet is non-negotiable. Frequenting hand washing and being protected while being with people who have flu is recommended. It is also advisable that a pregnant woman gets a flu shot for avoiding any infections. This helps the neonate even after being born.