Contrary to the general notion that cold weather is the cause of pneumonia, a general health practitioner, Dr Tolu Oladapo, has said pneumonia is not caused by exposure to cold or cold weather.
Oladapo, a medical officer at Hopeville Hospital and Maternity, Ibadan, made the postulation on Friday during a media chat in Ibadan.
According to the physician, pneumonia as an infection of the lungs that is caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infection.
She noted that pneumonia is not limited to children but can also affect people of all ages.
“Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. It is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs.
“The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake,” she said.
Oladapo said the germs that cause pneumonia infection are spread from person to person through droplets, from coughing or sneezing.
“Contrary to the widespread belief among Nigerians, you cannot contract pneumonia through exposure to cold weather or by drinking cold water.
“Pneumonia can be caused due to poor personal hygiene, poor ventilation, overcrowding and dirty environment.
“Anyone can develop pneumonia. The people most at risk of developing pneumonia are children, older adults, and people with preexisting medical conditions that weaken the immune system,” she said.
According to her, although pneumonia is a preventable disease, Nigeria contributes to highest number of pneumonia deaths among children under five.
“The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, age and overall health.
“Symptoms may include cough with yellow or bloody phlegm; shortness of breath; chest pain, fatigue, fever, sweating and chills,” she said.
She stressed that good hygiene and good environmental sanitation could prevent pneumonia.
“Poor personal hygiene and poor environmental sanitation are widely recognized as the main causes of pneumonia infection and transmission.
“Adopting better hygiene practices is the first line of defense against infectious diseases like pneumonia.
“Washing hands with soap and clean running water can reduce infections and transmission of illnesses.
“It is important to frequently clean surfaces and surroundings to stop the spread of bacteria and germs that cause pneumonia and any other infectious diseases,” she said.