World Pneumonia Day 2022: Pneumonia affects everyone

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Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your professional background and your current role at Asthma + Lung UK?

I have been a GP for 18 years and work with Asthma + Lung UK as a clinical lead. I support different parts of the charity by making sure their work is medically accurate, which includes helping to set up our health councils, connecting with expert nurses on the helpline, or influencing the NHS and decision makers. decisions to improve the care of patients with respiratory diseases.

Can you tell us a bit about Asthma + Lung UK? What is your strategy to achieve a world where everyone has healthy lungs?

Asthma + Lung UK is the country’s leading lung charity. He is committed to bringing better outcomes to the 12 million people who will develop a lung condition in their lifetime, whether it be asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis or any other respiratory disease.

Fighting for your right to breathe | Asthma + Lung UK

The UK currently has the highest rate of lung deaths in Western Europe, with just 2% of publicly funded research spent on respiratory health. However, lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the country. As a charity we don’t think this is good enough, and we are campaigning for more money to invest in research to develop new medicines. We also want lung health to be as high a priority as other conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.

What is pneumonia and how do infectious lung conditions such as pneumonia affect existing lung conditions?

Pneumonia is a type of chest infection that affects the tiny air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli. When you have pneumonia, these alveoli become inflamed and fill with fluid. This makes it more difficult for someone to breathe. Symptoms include coughing up mucus, high temperature, shortness of breath, chest pain, and loss of appetite.

It is one of the leading causes of death in winter, and people with existing lung conditions are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill.

Image Credit: Helena Nechaeva /

Image Credit: Helena Nechaeva /

Infants and young children are at higher risk for pneumonia because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. How does pneumonia affect the lives of children and their families? What should be done to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric pneumonia?

Many cases of childhood pneumonia can be prevented. Reducing exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (including from clothing), promoting routine childhood immunizations, and a healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial to protecting children’s lungs.

The specific theme for World Pneumonia Day 2022 is “Pneumonia affects everyone”. How important is it to improve the visibility of this disease and the people it affects?

Pneumonia is supposed to only affect the older and more vulnerable people, but this is not always the case, with research from Asthma + Lung UK revealing that every year nearly one in a hundred adults will be affected by the infection.

Pneumonia is dangerous and can be fatal, so it’s important to know how to prevent it. Some steps people can take to protect themselves include not smoking, adopting handwashing to prevent infection, and getting vaccinated against pneumonia if eligible.

The acceptance of this jab is not as high as it should be. Those eligible for the free vaccine include adults 65 and older, people at occupational risk such as metal workers and welders, and children and adults with long-term health conditions such as COPD or severe asthma. Most adults will only need to receive this vaccine once in their lifetime.

Image Credit: VectorMine/

Image Credit: VectorMine/

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia?

It’s been a bit confusing, really. On the one hand, people are more aware of respiratory conditions and are more likely to take respiratory problems more seriously. Still, on the other hand, for some, there is increased reluctance to seek medical care, or they face difficulties in accessing it.

What are the next steps for you and your work? Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

Asthma + Lung UK is currently funding crucial research into the impact of female hormones on asthma, as we know that women are more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than men and are twice as likely to die from an asthma attack. asthma.

Where can readers find more information?

You can find more information about pneumonia on our website here:

About Dr. Andy Whittamore

Andy is a GP in Portsmouth and the clinical lead for the charity. He has worked as a GP for over 15 years and is highly knowledgeable about diagnosing and treating lung conditions, including asthma, in primary care. He has held a variety of roles driving innovation and quality improvement, including working for the UK Primary Care Respiratory Society, in the Department of Health Respiratory Program and as Clinical Champion for FeNO testing in the UK NHS. England.

Andy has been interviewed for a variety of national and regional media outlets including the Telegraph, BBC and Sky and has written for publications such as GP Online, OnMedica and and can provide expert clinical information on all lung conditions as well as how digital innovations like apps can help people manage their lung health.
Follow Andy on Twitter: @76whit

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