World Pneumonia Day is Saturday, Nov. 12. To mark the occasion, the American Lung Association (ALA) and Pfizer are launching “Who Pneu?” a campaign aimed at raising awareness by sharing information about pneumococcal pneumonia.
ALA is one of the leading organizations working to improve the lives of people with lung diseases and to increase research, education and advocacy efforts. Pneumonia is one of ALA’s primary focus areas.
Pneumonia can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus transmitted by personal contact. One of the most frequently diagnosed types of bacterial pneumonia is pneumococcal pneumonia. Usually, adults older than 50 are eight times more likely of being hospitalized because of pneumococcal pneumonia than younger adults. The average hospital stay is six days.
The awareness-raising campaign shares the real story of Pam, 51 years old, who had to be hospitalized because of pneumococcal pneumonia in March 2015 (see video below).
“[…] all of a sudden I just didn’t feel right. I started coughing a lot, I got more and more short of breath, I was shaking,” she recounts in the video. “My symptoms were devastating. I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
Pneumococcal pneumonia often causes high fevers, excessive sweating, quivering chills, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, as well as chest pain, cough and fatigue. Symptoms might last for weeks, if not months.
“I was rushed to the hospital and the infectious disease doctor said, ‘Pam, you have pneumococcal pneumonia. If you would’ve waited two more days, you would have died,” Pam said. “This pneumonia is a big deal. If I would have known there was something that I could have done to help prevent this, I would have asked my doctor about it.”
Every year, thousands of adult Americans are hospitalized because of diseases for which vaccines are available. Meanwhile, vaccination rates in the U.S. remain low, lagging well behind experts’ recommendations and goals set by federal health advisory agencies.
The first “Who Pneu?” campaign video can be viewed below: