The distressing trend of child fatalities due to pneumonia persists in Punjab - the largest province - with 10 additional children succumbing to the illness in the past 24 hours.
According to the Punjab Health Department, the province reported a staggering 427 new cases of pneumonia within the same period, with Lahore alone registering 149 fresh cases.
The latest data reveals a grim picture, with Punjab witnessing a total of 319 fatalities and 20,872 reported cases of pneumonia thus far this year. In Lahore, the figures stand at 58 deaths and 4,050 cases reported during the same period.
Health experts have sounded the alarm, attributing the surge in pneumonia cases primarily to the hazardous smog engulfing Punjab, exacerbated by rampant air pollution during the winter season.
Responding to the critical situation, Dr Jamal Nasir, the caretaker health minister of Punjab, issued mandatory vaccination instructions for children against pneumonia on January 11.
Dr Nasir stressed that free diagnosis and treatment facilities for pneumonia are available in all government hospitals across the province.
Symptoms and causes
He highlighted common symptoms of pneumonia, including difficulty in breathing, cough, cold, and fever.
Precautions, such as ensuring children wear warm clothes and limiting exposure to cold, were stressed to protect against pneumonia. Causes of pneumonia in children were attributed to factors like lack of breastfeeding, pollution, malnutrition, prolonged exposure to cold, and weakened immune systems.
Pneumonia, even in its mild form, can pose a significant threat to life. Symptoms include phlegm and cough, fever, profuse sweating or chills, shortness of breath during normal activities, chest pain when breathing or coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and headaches. The severity of symptoms may vary based on age and health conditions.
Measures and treatment
Doctors are employing chest X-rays for accurate information about the lungs in the initial stages.
Antiviral medications are being prescribed for cases caused by viruses. Dr. Nasir urged the public to seek medical attention promptly if any symptoms arise.