Combatting the Threat of Pneumonia – World Pneumonia Day

Hand Hygiene

Reducing the Danger of Pneumonia

World Pneumonia Day was established in 2009 and takes place on the 12th November every year. The day aims to raise awareness about the threat of pneumonia to people around the world and why it is important to take action.

Children are especially vulnerable to pneumonia and it is the leading cause of deaths for children under the age of 5 years. The worst thing about this statistic is that these deaths are preventable. Poorer communities are especially at risk from the threat of pneumonia, but it is still an issue in the UK.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection caused by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection which effects one or both of your lungs. The most common form of pneumonia is bacterial and is normally treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of pneumonia are caused by inflammation of the lungs, which become filled with fluid making it difficult to breathe. This can cause coughing fits, fever and increased heart rate, all contributing to increased fatigue.

How to Prevent Pneumonia

The Stop Pneumonia initiative promotes a number of ways to help prevent pneumonia and highlights the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene, abbreviated to WASH.

Ensuring high hygiene standards helps to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses, which lead to pneumonia. In less economically developed countries, where access to washing facilities are limited, the spread of pneumonia is especially difficult to contain.

The good news is that where handwashing programmes have been implemented the number of pneumonia cases among children under the age of 5 has dropped by 50%.1 This shows how implementing improved hygiene can help to reduce the spread of pneumonia.

Investing in simple prevention methods such as soap and clean water can have a significantly positive impact in countries where access to these basic services that we take for granted are sadly not commonplace.

Despite improvements to people’s access to sanitation facilities, with over 1.8 billion people gaining access to improved hygiene since 1990, there is still a long way to go before the world’s population have adequate access to sanitation.

It is important to understand that pneumonia itself is not contagious, but other contagious infections can lead to pneumonia, which is why it is important to prevent the spread of these germs through handwashing and sanitation.

Combating Pneumonia with Effective Hand Washing & Hand Dryers

The statistics above show that handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of viruses and harmful bacteria that may cause pneumonia. The workplace is one of the worst places for promoting the spread of germs and bacteria because simple hygiene practices are ignored or the services for employees to practise good hygiene are not in place. Have you ever used a washroom and the soap dispenser is empty or the hand dryer doesn’t work?

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society revealed that you should be washing your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure you have washed your hands effectively. This amount of time is considered by many as an inconvenience and certainly becomes more difficult to promote in your business when there’s no soap in the washroom!  

Wet or damp hands can spread bacteria throughout the workplace, so you need to ensure that your hand dryers are not only working, but are actually effective. Failure to provide adequate hand drying solutions can lead to an increased spread of harmful germs around your business premises, which can increase the risk of employees contracting infections, which could lead to pneumonia.

What Should We Learn from World Pneumonia Day?

World Pneumonia Day raises awareness about simple sanitation and hygiene processes that should be followed to prevent the spread of harmful germs which could lead to pneumonia. This issue is particularly prevalent in poorer countries where hygiene facilities are not available, but this doesn’t mean that the UK should dismiss this day as not important.

We should all strive to improve hygiene standards whether it be at home, in the workplace or in schools, colleges and universities, as this can help to prevent the spread of infectious germs and help to keep us healthy.

If you’re interested in finding out about how Cannon Hygiene can help deliver expert hygiene standards in your business then please feel free to contact our team who will be happy to help.