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Viewpoint: Pneumonia Hits the Baby of the Family
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Our six month old grandson, Duke, got sick last week. My wife was visiting the grand-kids last Tuesday and his mother had noticed that Duke felt really hot and had a deep, wet cough. His grandmother, of course, also noticed and was relieved that on three separate occasions his mom took him to the doctor.

On the final visit to the family doctor, last Friday, his oxygen level was 80% and, to abbreviate a long story, he was moved to Denver Children’s hospital as one of the one million people per year who have pneumonia.

Pneumonia is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. In 1999, 63,730 Americans died from pneumonia according to the Center for Disease Control. The lowest death rate in recent history happened in 2012 when 50,623 Americans lost their lives to this disease.

The most likely to die from pneumonia is a man of Native American or Alaskan origin over the age of 85. The least likely to die, statistically, is a female Hispanic baby. In fact, and in Duke’s favor, children almost never die of this disease. Nearly 60% of all United States pneumonia deaths happen when you get the disease and you are over 85 years of age.

Not that it is not serious for children. Seventy percent of people hospitalized for pneumonia are children under the age of five according to the American Lung Association. Annually, over $1 billion is spent on those infants to get them well.

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The Greenhorn Valley View is a weekly newspaper serving the communities of the Greenhorn Valley in Southern Colorado,
including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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