Spitting in open areas is a common practice in India, and with it spreads a host of diseases. India is not immune to pneumonia; spitting in public complicates things. According to The Lancet report, pneumonia is behind the highest child mortality rate. With winter months setting in, coughing, sneezing, breathlessness, and air pollution are leading to pneumonia in adults and children. Post-COVID-19 outbreak, the mysterious outbreak of pneumonia in China is raising eyebrows among the healthcare fraternity in India.


What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. The severe forms lead to air sacs filled with pus, leading to serious consequences. Lungs have tiny sacs known as alveoli and remain air-filled in a healthy individual. An infected person with pneumonia has the alveoli filled with pus and fluid. There are four stages of pneumonia: early congestion, red hepatization, gray hepatization, and resolution. Infants and adults over 65 are more prone to the disease. Pneumonia may be due to bacteria, viruses, and even fungi. Pneumonia is contagious and can spread fast when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, thus spreading infected respiratory droplets.


The common causes of bacterial pneumonia are Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a tiny, widespread bacterium generally transmitted to younger people, especially those living and working in crowded conditions.


Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a mild form of pneumonia and occurs year-round in the upper respiratory area.


Legionella pneumophila is the most virulent form and can cause Legionnaire’s disease. The outbreak is linked to exposure to contaminated water from cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and outdoor fountains.


The flu, also known as the influenza virus, and the common cold, known as rhinovirus, are the most common causes of viral pneumonia in adults. The most common cause of viral pneumonia in young children is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).


Fungal pneumonia mainly affects people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems. People exposed to contaminated soil or bird droppings are likely to procure fungal pneumonia. Pigeons can contract hypersensitive pneumonia.



Symptoms can vary, with an infected person producing a cough with greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus. The other likely symptoms are shortness of breath, shallow breathing, fever, sweating, loss of appetite, fatigue, etc.


The indication of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly, and the fever may rise to 105 degrees F. Lips and nailbeds may turn bluish due to lack of oxygen. Viral pneumonia has symptoms similar to bacterial pneumonia, and symptoms develop over several days. Infants and children may not show immediate symptoms, whereas adults with weak immune systems will find it difficult to cope with the disease. A severe form of pneumonia may lead to mental awareness in some patients.


Preventive measures

Upon being diagnosed with pneumonia, it is a must for the patient to approach a doctor and take medical interventions if the condition is severe. Following proper medication will lead to a quick recovery. Preventing people from spitting in public needs social awareness, and thus, diseases like pneumonia will be easy to tackle.