In a recent teleconference, organized by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia, two experts in pneumonia research and prevention talked about how risky pneumonia is for children in the United States – and throughout the world.
Pneumonia is the biggest killer of children under 5; every 20 seconds a child somewhere in the world dies of it.
Symptoms can escalate quickly. Some danger signs:
• A child is working so hard to breathe that he or she can’t nurse or sip a bottle.
• A child has an apprehensive expression while trying to breathe.
• A child has a cold and then develops a high fever on top of it.
• A child who is blue around the lips.
• A child who is breathing very fast.
• A child whose chest is moving in a way that indicates it’s extremely difficult to breathe.
The researchers also expressed frustration with parents in the United States who resist pneumonia vaccinations for their children. It’s a different story in other countries.
Dr. Orin Levine with the International Vaccine Access Center said: “Every time we go to Africa to film a documentary about pneumonia, we say, ‘Is there a child in this hospital with pneumonia?’
“They show us a child and every time, there is a kid that dies. When we go to those communities and say there’s a new lifesaving pneumonia vaccine, we don’t get the pushback about the adverse reactions. We get 6,000 people in the football stadium wanting the vaccines.”