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Just what is pneumonia, anyway?

October 13, 2016

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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Leith Greenslade
October 24, 2016

You didn’t mention pneumonia is the leading infectious disease killer of children under 5 globally, causing almost 1 million deaths – more than AIDs, malaria and measles COMBINED according to UNICEF (2015). What is even more alarming is that child pneumonia deaths are not falling at the same rate as child deaths from measles, AIDS, malaria and diarrhea. Why? Slow rollout of the pneumonia-fighting vaccines in the populations where child pneumonia deaths are concentrated (India, Nigeria, Pakistan etc), lack of easy to use, accurate diagnostic tools that identify children with pneumonia, and lack of access to antibiotics and oxygen therapy. And widespread child malnutrition is the lurking menace here, with malnourished children 9 times more likely to die from pneumonia. Here’s hoping all of this attention on pneumonia in the US Presidential campaign translates into more action to reduce this heavy burden of child death abroad.

S M Afzal Reza
October 16, 2016

excellent elaboration of cognitive facts

Alan G. Smith
October 14, 2016

Thanks very much for this. It makes the topic clearer. If I may some questions. I think of the topic alot having had an asthmatic reaction to colds that last weeks in the past and it always seemed to be on the verge of pneumonia. I have a number of questions please.

The I-COUGH protocol is used to prevent hospital acquired pneumonia? It includes oral rinse. Do you know if nasal rinse has been considered as well?

I have proposed what is effectively a lung washing by way of instilling low molar electrolyzed saline (HCLO PH 6.5) nebulised to 2 microns to treated pneumonia. Do you know of any similar investigations?

Lastly, and thanks for your consideration, which pneumonia to newborns get?

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