Good Hygiene Can Help Prevent Pneumonia
To help prevent pneumonia, try to stay away from anyone who is sick. If you are sick, rest, stay home and avoid contact with others.
Here are some other pneumonia prevention tips:
- Dont smoke.
- Wash your hands often in warm, soapy water.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cant wash your hands.
- Get adequate rest.
- Eat a healthy diet.
If you have a cold and are concerned that it might move to your lungs and turn into pneumonia, talk to your health care provider about steps you can take to help prevent that from happening.
Can The Shots Cause Pneumonia Or Make You Sick
No. The pneumonia vaccines dont contain live bacteria, so they cant cause an infection. They wont cause pneumonia or other pneumococcal diseases. If you dont feel well after your vaccine, you should discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider to find out whether they are related to the vaccine or caused by another illness.
What You Need To Know About Pneumonia And Flu Shots
This article was first published in The Montreal Gazette.
Recently, Oprah got pneumonia. Then she went on Ellen to recommend that everyone get their flu and pneumonia shots. Given that only 42 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 got the pneumonia vaccine in 2016, maybe Oprah can get us over the 80 per cent target.
Sadly, Oprah has not always been a strong advocate for science. She gave a platform to Jenny McCarthy when she started claiming that vaccines caused her sons autism, and she also introduced the world to Dr. Oz.
But as Oprah explained to Ellen, pneumonia is no joke. Around 1.5 million people are hospitalized with pneumonia every year. Around 100,000 die in hospital and a third of people hospitalized with pneumonia die within the year.
Older patients are at greater risk and so are those with pre-existing lung disease. Smoking is also a risk factor for pneumonia, so if you need an extra incentive to stop smoking, this is it. But the main way to prevent pneumonia is with vaccines.
The problem with the pneumonia vaccine is not one of efficacy. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 18 randomized trials found that the pneumonia vaccine led to a substantial reduction in infections. The problem is which pneumonia vaccine to give people.
And if you wont listen to me, at least listen to Oprah.
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What You Should Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that typically stems from several kinds of germs, most often bacteria and viruses.
Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. They include:
- Chest pain.
- Loss of appetite.
Early detection is often challenging because many people with these symptoms assume they have a cold or the flu.
Its important to also note that the vaccine helps protect against some but not all bacterial pneumonia.
There are dozens of different types of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Suri. The vaccine will certainly reduce your risk of the most common bacterial pneumonia.
Who Should Get Pneumococcal Vaccines
CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.
Talk to your or your childs doctor about what is best for your specific situation.
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Cough And Cold Medicines
Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.
Always check to see if any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines you are taking contain acetaminophen. If they do, make sure the acetaminophen you are taking in your cold medicine plus any other acetaminophen you may be taking is not higher than the daily recommended dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much you can take every day.
Who Should Get Immunised Against Pneumococcal Disease
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against pneumococcal disease can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.
Pneumococcal immunisation is recommended for:
- infants and children aged under 5 years
- non-Indigenous adults aged 70 years and over without medical risk conditions for pneumococcal disease
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged under 5 years living in Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 50 years and over without medical risk conditions for pneumococcal disease
- infants under 12 months diagnosed with certain medical risk conditions for pneumococcal disease
- people over 12 months with certain medical risk conditions for pneumococcal disease
There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine provided free under the National Immunisation Program for different age groups and circumstances:
Refer to the NIP schedule for vaccine dosage information. Your doctor or vaccination provider will advise if you or your child have a specified medical risk condition.
Refer to the pneumococcal recommendations in the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more information.
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This Infectious Disease Can Pose A Serious Health Risk For Those Age 65 And Older But Two Vaccines Can Offer Sound Protection
One of the leading health dangers for older adults is pneumonia. It is the most common cause of hospital admissions after childbirth. In fact, adults age 65 and older have a higher risk of death from pneumonia hospitalization than any other reason.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs by bacteria, viruses, or other microbes. Most cases are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, and Legionella pneumophila. A similar inflammation of the lung, called pneumonitis, can be caused by an inhaled chemical and is more common in people who have had strokes and have difficulty swallowing. A physical exam, chest x-ray, and blood test can confirm a diagnosis.
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How Often Do You Need To Get The Pneumonia Vaccines
Sometimes, vaccines require a booster shot. This means that an additional shot is given after the initial one to make sure that you dont lose immunity over time.
PCV13 never requires a booster shot in children or adults after all recommended doses are received.
Sometimes, PPSV23 requires a booster shot, depending on when and why it was given:
Children who get PPSV23 due to certain health conditions, like cancer and conditions that weaken the immune system, need a booster 5 years after the first dose.
Adults who get PPSV23 before age 65 should get one booster at least 5 years after the first dose, once theyve turned 65. No booster is needed if the first dose is given after age 65.
Adults with a weakened immune system and other specific conditions should have another dose 5 years after their first dose, and then one more dose at least 5 years after their most recent dose, once theyve turned 65.
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Why Are The Pneumonia Vaccines Important
Vaccines, like the pneumonia vaccines, can prevent or decrease the severity of diseases. Unfortunately, around 50,000 people die from pneumonia in the United States each year.3 It is passed along through airborne droplets, such as from a cough or sneeze, so it is a highly contagious infection.2 It is crucial to receive the pneumococcal vaccine to not only protect yourself but to protect your loved ones around you. Especially if you have a breathing condition like asthma or COPD, it is important to have the pneumonia vaccines to prevent respiratory infections that can potentially make your breathing worse. Talk to your provider or local pharmacy if you are due for your pneumonia vaccine today.
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Persons With Inadequate Immunization Records
Children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered unimmunized and should be started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors. Pneumococcal vaccines may be given, regardless of possible previous receipt of the vaccines, as adverse events associated with repeated immunization have not been demonstrated. Refer to Immunization of Persons with Inadequate Immunization Records in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of people with inadequate immunization records.
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Pneumonia And Long Covid
In a Q& A about lingering COVID-19 symptoms, the Cleveland Clinic notes that it is seemingly random who experiences long-lasting symptoms and who doesn’t. So, its not quite clear whether having pneumonia in the past is connected with having long COVID.
As a way to find answers, in 2021, the National Institutes of Health launched an ongoing study into the underlying biological causes of prolonged symptoms and what makes some people more likely to get long COVID.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- When should I make an appointment to get each type of pneumococcal vaccine?
- Should I still get the vaccines if Ive recently had pneumonia?
- Should I wait to turn 65 before I get each dose of pneumococcal vaccines?
- If I have a negative reaction to one type of pneumococcal vaccine, am I likely to have that same reaction to the other?
Funding was provided for these pneumococcal resources through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer Independent Grant for Learning and Change .
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Your Good Health: You Can Get Pneumonia Even When Vaccinated
Dear Dr. Roach: When I was 55, my doctor recommended that I have the pneumonia vaccination, and a booster a couple of years ago. I am 72 now. Is it likely Hillary Clinton would have got one? Can you get pneumonia after having the vaccination? If so, why would it be recommended, and are they harmful?
I dont know whether Mrs. Clinton was vaccinated. However, expert groups recommend vaccination. The current recommendation from the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to get the PCV13 at age 65, followed by a dose of PPSV23 six to 12 months later. Adults over 18 also should receive these two vaccines if they have a condition that compromises the immune system, or certain other medical conditions. Some experts recommend only the Pneumovax for healthy elderly.
No vaccine is perfect, so it is still possible to get pneumococcal pneumonia after vaccination. There are many other types of pneumonia caused by organisms other than the one covered by the vaccine.
The best estimate is that the vaccine prevents 50 to 80 per cent of severe pneumococcal disease. The most common side effects are a sore or swollen arm. Serious reactions are rare. Because of the significant benefit and small risk of harm, I recommend at least the PPSV23 pneumococcal vaccine for those over 65.
The second issue is whether it is safe to do both cataract surgeries at the same time.
Complications Of Pneumonia Caused By Covid
Because pneumonia causes the alveoli in the lungs to fill with pus and fluid, breathing can be painful and difficult.
Pneumonia can cause serious health complications, including:
Because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it would make sense that having COVID-19 would cause lung complications. As of yet, not enough data are available to support this conclusion.
However, as noted above, research does show that COVID-19 can cause severe illness, including pneumonia that can be fatal. A 2020 study by the CDC found that among a group of people with COVID-19, about 70% had complications from pneumonia. Also, people with COVID-19 were twice as likely to get pneumonia compared to people with the flu.
Regarding long-lasting complications from COVID-19, it is still too soon to say for sure whether “long-haulers” are more likely to have underlying chronic medical conditions.
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Allergic Reactions To The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Very occasionally, a child or adult may have a serious allergic reaction after either type of pneumococcal vaccination.
Known as an anaphylactic reaction, this can cause life-threatening breathing difficulties.
Anaphylaxis is a rare, serious side effect that can happen within minutes of the injection. It’s very alarming at the time, but it can be treated with adrenaline.
The doctor or nurse giving the vaccine will have been trained to know how to treat anaphylactic reactions.
Provided they receive treatment promptly, children and adults make a complete recovery.
Going To The Hospital
If you have severe pneumonia, you may have to go to the hospital:
- In most cases of pneumonia you get in your daily life, such as at school or work , it is not necessary to go to the hospital.footnote 2
- About one-third of people with community-based pneumonia are age 65 or older.footnote 2 Older adults are treated in the hospital more often and stay longer for the condition than younger people.footnote 2 Pneumonia is more serious in this group, because they often have and may develop other medical problems.
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Lab Tests For Pneumonia
The need for more tests often depends on how severe your symptoms are, your age, and your overall health. In general, the sicker you are, the more tests you may need. This is especially true for older adults and infants. One example of a test you may have is the arterial blood gas test.
If you are very ill, have severe shortness of breath, or have a condition that increases your risk , your doctor may test your mucus. Tests include a Gram stain and a sputum culture.
Rapid urine test
This test can identify some bacteria that cause pneumonia. This can help guide treatment for pneumonia.
In people who have impaired immune systems, pneumonia may be caused by other organisms, including some forms of fungi, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci . This fungus often causes pneumonia in people who have AIDS. Some doctors may suggest an HIV test if they think that Pneumocystis jiroveci is causing the pneumonia.
Other lung tests
If you have severe pneumonia, you may need other tests, including tests to check for complications and to find out how well your immune system is working.
What Increases Your Risk
You are more likely to get pneumonia if you:
- Smoke. Cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for pneumonia in healthy young people.
- Have another medical condition, especially lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
- Are younger than 1 year of age or older than 65.
- Have an impaired immune system.
- Take medicine called a proton pump inhibitor that reduces the amount of stomach acid.footnote 3, footnote 4
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Recently had a cold or the flu.
You are more likely to have complications of pneumonia and need to go to the hospital if you:
- Are older than 65.
- Have some other illness , or have gone to the hospital for a medical problem within the last 3 months.
- Have had your spleen removed or do not have a working spleen .
- Have an alcohol use problem.
- Have a weak immune system.
- Reside in a place where people live close together, such as a university dorm or nursing home.
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Who Should Get The Pneumococcal Vaccine
- Adults aged 65 years or older may only need 1 dose. Another dose of either vaccine may be given, if they are at least 1 year apart. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need more vaccine doses and when to get them.
- Adults aged 19 to 64 at high risk for pneumococcal disease will need 1 or more doses of the vaccine. If you are Native Alaskan or American Indian, ask your healthcare provider if you need the vaccine. Any of the following can increase your risk for pneumococcal disease:
- A chronic heart or lung disease, or diabetes
- Liver disease or alcoholism
- A cerebrospinal fluid leak or cochlear implant
- A damaged or removed spleen, or sickle cell disease
- A weak immune system, HIV, cancer, kidney failure, or an organ transplant
- Living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Should You Get A Flu Shot
In general, every person with diabetes needs a flu shot each year. Talk with your doctor about having a flu shot. Flu shots do not give 100% protection, but they do make it less likely for you to catch the flu for about six months.
For extra safety, it’s a good idea for the people you live with or spend a lot of time with to get a flu shot, too. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don’t have it.
The best time to get your flu shot is beginning in September. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect.
If youre sick , ask if you should wait until you are healthy again before having your flu shot. And don’t get a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs.
You are advised to continue to take the general precautions of preventing seasonal flu and other communicable illnesses and diseases:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash. If you dont have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
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