Tag Archives: pneumonia

Isn’t Pneumonia Cute?

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photo 3Looking at these little guys you might think they are darn cute! Pneumonia is especially cute in his peachy color and wobbly shape… but we all know, in reality, these two little guys are anything but cute.

If you live in the US, it is likely you don’t give polio a second thought because we haven’t seen it in many, many years.  I was just talking with a friend about Shot@Life a couple of weeks ago and they were asking about my last trip to Washington, D.C..  I was telling her I was in DC advocating for the eradication of polio and she said, “I thought that was already gone?”  This is the perception of many people in then US because we have been polio free for so long.  However, it is still alive and moving around in other parts of the world and it is only 99% eliminated from the globe – we still have 1% to go!

While pneumonia is treatable and causes less deaths in the US every year, in other parts of the world it is a death sentence, especially to children under the age of five.  My own son contracted pneumonia at the age of two.  This was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever gone through with my children.  But I was lucky, I had access to a great hospital with lots of doctors and medications to help treat his illness.  I couldn’t imagine what the outcome might have been if I lived in a developing country and didn’t have that sort of access.  My hope is that no mother ever has to experience an undesirable outcome for something that could have been prevented.

So…what can we do to help eradicate polio, prevent pneumonia, and decrease the deaths of children in developing countries?

Well….I chose to support Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation Campaign, that connects and empowers Americans to help protect children in developing countries from vaccine-preventable diseases.  By joining this movement, I helped save a child’s life every 20 seconds!  2.5 million kids didn’t die this year because of vaccines.  2.5 MILLION! 1 in 5 children do not have access to life-saving vaccines.  Imagine if nearly half the children enrolling in kindergarten this year in the United States were to die of diseases that can be prevented by a vaccine.  That’s how many children die each year in developing countries because they don’t get the immunizations that they need.

So, back to how YOU can help save lives from the comfort of your own home (or computer)…

Through involvement in Shot@Life, you can give a child a lifetime of immunity from deadly diseases and a shot at a healthy childhood by voicing your support for vaccines, to help ensure that US government investments in vaccines continue to save lives.

So I encourage you to take, at the very least, one simple action from the list above to start helping to give kids a shot@enjoying the spring sunshine, flying kites, catching butterflies and ultimately, a Shot@Life.

 

 

 

 

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Happy World Pneumonia Day!

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What do you think of when you hear the word pneumonia?  Maybe fever, coughing, aches and pains come to mind…maybe a trip to the doctor is in your thoughts, maybe rest, fluids and antibiotics also come to mind.  That is what comes to mind for those of us living in a place that doctors and medicines are plenty.  Where we can take time to rest, recoup and get well.  However, there are families in the world who don’t have that luxury and to them it simply means death.

November 12th marks the fourth annual World Pneumonia Day, when world leaders are calling for major efforts in the fight against childhood pneumonia, which remains the number one killer of children under age five. Pneumonia claimed 1.3 million lives in 2011 alone, and was responsible for nearly one in five global child deaths.

As a child I was hospitalized with pneumonia when I was 5.  I can remember being confined to a bed covered in a plastic bubble for a number of days.  I don’t remember much more than that, but I can still see the plastic “bubble” that encased my small space to protect me from spreading my own disease to others and acquiring more germs that might worsen my state.

That moment came and went.  I survived just fine with the help of doctors, my parents and that “bubble” I had to endure.  So, when my son came down with pneumonia at the age of two those images again resurfaced in my head.  (funny how that happens, isn’t it?)

His story doesn’t include a stay in a bubble…but it was one of the most frightening things I have ever endured to date.  He started with a cold, which added a cough, which spiked a temp of nearly 104, which when you add in his lethargic state, desire to sleep and lack of desire to eat that all showed up overnight…it became my worst nightmare.  My baby was very sick and no one could do anything to make it stop!  Our doctors did what they knew to do – fluids, rest, medication – but after 1 day of that and no improvement we were sent the the ER immediately.  His temp would not go down, he would not drink and he was so sleepy.  My worst fears were being handed to me without even asking for them…there was nothing I could do to make it better for him and I felt helpless through it all.

I will never forget our arrival in the pediatric unit where the nurses wanted to start multiple IV’s in his tiny little arms.  His little veins were so hard to find and they kept poking and poking and poking and the more they poked the more he screamed.  He was so scared and so sick.  He had to have those needles work so he could get the needed fluids and medicine into him faster so his little body could mend.  But they just couldn’t make it happen!  After new nurses arrived and the needles were in, he was able to rest, and so was I.  I prayed the medicines would work fast and my baby would return to me soon.

We spent two days in the hospital.  And when I say we, I mean we.  He slept directly on my chest for two straight days.  His body temperature slowing dropping back to normal and his color returning to his original tone.  It wasn’t over from there – even though we were out of the woods for the worst of it.  For years he fought with respiratory issues and illness induced asthma.  I am grateful that he has outgrown both by the age of 9, but the fear that existed every time he started to cough, sniffle or sneeze was something I hope no mother has to live through – ever.

Looking back at that 3-4 day ordeal that stretched out over two weeks of recovery, I can only think of those mothers who don’t have those resources in their reach when their babies become ill.  Pneumonia claimed 1.3 million lives in 2011 alone, and was responsible for nearly one in five global child deaths.  (Some of those right here in the U.S.)  But we have a chance to help lower that number TODAY!   According to a Pneumonia Progress Report released today by the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins, 75 percent of all childhood pneumonia deaths worldwide occur in just 15 countries, demonstrating the impact we can have with targeted efforts. The report also notes that none of these countries have reached the 90 percent coverage targets for key pneumonia interventions recommended in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP).

So, today, on World Pneumonia Day, I ask for your support.  Here is a link to multiple resources and ways that YOU can help save lives by being an advocate for children around the world:

http://worldpneumoniaday.org/act2012/