Lower Respiratory Infections in Africa

by 02/11/2012 11:30:00 0 comments 3079 Views
Lower Respiratory Infections in Africa

A lower respiratory infection is any infection in the lungs, trachea, or the bronchi. Infections which affect these areas are pneumonia, bronchitis, and lung abscesses. Symptoms can usually include a cough, fever, shortness of breath, weakness, and tiredness. These infections are all due to inflammation.

What causes this disease in Africa?

There are 3 causes of lower respiratory infections: bacterial, viral, and environmental. Environmental causes in Africa are often due to indoor cooking which creates giant clouds of smoke from the traditional three stone wood fires and charcoal. This is also similar in the case of lanterns being used for light at night using kerosene. The smoke wears down the lining of the lungs make it susceptible to disease and kills the cilia which are in the upper respiratory tract. As the smoke causes paralysis of the cilia the pollutants enter the lungs without anything to stop it. As women and children are in the smoke of the kitchen more than the men if affects them most severely. This explains the high rate of morbidity and mortality due to lung diseases. Very seldom are these diseases caused by smoking cigarettes in Africa.

What can be done?

The best way to prevent this is to replace the cooking and lighting methods that use charcoal and firewood with those that are “non-smoking”. This can include natural gas canisters, biogas, solar, and other innovative technologies. If these technologies are not available it is recommended that the cooking should take place outside in the fresh air with good ventilation. With the creation of lower cost alternative technologies we could see small businesses that sell such things as solar stoves and lanterns make an income for the local people and reduce the prevalence of this killer disease. Try adding some turmeric to the food and drinking neem tea for general relief from inflammation and an immune system boost.