R.I.P Heavy D

image source: soul culture

On November 8, 2011, the “big teddy bear rapper” of the 80s and 90s, Heavy D, passed away. He was only 44 years old. Heavy D was a hip-hop pioneer and will truly be missed. The cause of his death is not yet known, but the LA Times reports speculation that Heavy D had been experiencing flu-like symptoms or pneumonia.

When you were younger, your mom might have told you, “It’s raining! Get inside before you catch pneumonia!” To set the record straight, getting wet won’t cause pneumonia. So what does? Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria or viruses. A cold or flu can also worsen into pneumonia. Kidshealth.org explains that the “infection creates fluid and mucus that blocks the alveoli [tiny air sacs in the lungs],” which is why people with pneumonia may experience coughing, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, chills, or chest pain.

Anyone can get pneumonia, but kids, senior citizens, and people with health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or HIV/AIDS are at a higher risk of infection. Nevertheless, it is important that everyone practices good hygiene, such as washing your hands, cleaning hard surfaces that are touched often (please invest in Lysol Disinfecting Wipes), and coughing/sneezing into a tissue/elbow/sleeve. Also, stay away from cigarette smoke and make sure to treat/prevent conditions like diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Pneumonia can also be prevented with vaccines and treated with antibiotics and antiviral drugs. It seems like this whole pneumonia business is under control, right? WRONG.

In 2007, 1.2 million people were hospitalized with pneumonia and at least 52,000 people died from the disease in the United States. Every 20 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies from pneumonia. In fact, more deaths are caused by pneumonia than any other infectious disease such as AIDS, malaria, or tuberculosis.

Heavy D’s last tweet was “BE INSPIRED.” Today (November 12) is World Pneumonia Day. Join the Global Coalition against Pneumonia’s campaign to fight this disease by raising awareness in your community. Pneumonia is one of the most devastating yet solvable global health problems. Check out worldpneumoniaday.org for more information on how you can help solve this problem.

And in memory of Heavy D, check out one of his famous songs, “Now That We Found Love.”

By Alyssa Llamas

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