Friday, September 29, 2023

Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Help With Bronchitis

A History Of Vaccines

Understanding Pneumococcal Pneumonia

Vaccines have a long and impressive history. Well before we understood how infections worked, in the late 1700s an English physician Edward Jenner learned that giving small amounts of infected material from smallpox victims to others provided them protection from the dreaded disease. It was from those learnings that he developed a smallpox vaccine saving countless lives and small-pox has now been eradicated worldwide. Since that first vaccine was developed in 1798, we have used that same principle to produce vaccines to almost eliminate many of the formerly deadly childhood infectious diseases from the U.S. In fact, the greatest vaccine success in the modern era has been the near worldwide elimination of polio.

But its not always that simple. Try as we might, we have not yet been able to develop successful vaccines to control other important worldwide infections, such as tuberculosis , malaria and HIV. In addition, controlling influenza also remains a challenge requiring new vaccines each flu season. Most recently, scientists are working tirelessly to create additional vaccines to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

When To See A Provider

Since it can be difficult to tell the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia, Henderson recommends seeing a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of either.

If people are really feeling ill and having shortness of breath, they should get it checked out, Henderson said. Usually bronchitis is going to get better on its own it just takes time. But we dont want to miss that pneumonia.

Patients most at risk include those older than 65 those with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and lung issues and young children. Having previously had influenza is also a risk factor, as the virus can lead to pneumonia.

If its progressing fast, you should seek medical attention immediately, Henderson said.

How Is Acute Bronchitis Diagnosed

Healthcare providers can often diagnose acute bronchitis by taking a medical history and doing physical exam. Tests may be done to rule out other diseases, such as pneumonia or asthma. Any of these tests may be used to help confirm a diagnosis:

  • Chest X-rays. A test that uses invisible radiation beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs, including the lungs.
  • Arterial blood gas. This blood test is used to analyze the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood.
  • Pulse oximetry. An oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To get this measurement, a small sensor is taped or clipped on a finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.
  • Cultures of nasal discharge and sputum. Testing the sputum you cough up or swab from your nose may be done to find and identify the microorganism causing the infection.
  • Pulmonary function tests. These are tests that help to measure the ability of the lungs to move air in and out of the lungs. The tests are usually done with special machines that you breathe into.

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What If It Is Not Clear What A Person’s Vaccination History Is

When indicated, vaccines should be administered to patients with unknown vaccination status. All residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should have their vaccination status assessed and documented.

How long must a person wait to receive other vaccinations?

Inactivated influenza vaccine and tetanusvaccines may be given at the same time as or at any time before or after a dose of pneumococcus vaccine. There are no requirements to wait between the doses of these or any other inactivated vaccines.

Vaccination of children recommended

In July 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC jointly recommended childhood pneumococcal immunization, since pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the United States.

“The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13 or Prevnar 13, is currently recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age, all adults 65 years or older, and persons 6 through 64 years of age with certain medical conditions,” according to the 2014 AAP/CDC guidelines. “Pneumovax is a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that is currently recommended for use in all adults 65 years of age or older and for persons who are 2 years and older and at high risk for pneumococcal disease . PPSV23 is also recommended for use in adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.”

Who Should Not Get The Vaccine

Pneumonia shots: Coverage, costs, and eligibility

People should not get the vaccine if they have had a life threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose.

Additionally, a person should not undergo vaccination if they have had an allergic reaction to medication containing diphtheria toxoid or an earlier form of the pneumonia vaccination .

Lastly, people who are sick or have allergic reactions to any of the ingredients of the vaccine should talk to a doctor before getting the shot.

A pneumonia shot will not reduce pneumonia. However, it helps prevent invasive pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis, endocarditis, empyema, and bacteremia, which is when bacteria enter the bloodstream.

Noninvasive pneumococcal disease includes sinusitis.

There are two types of pneumonia shots available. Which type a person gets depends on their age, whether or not they smoke, and the presence of any underlying medical conditions.

The two types are:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine : Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for young children, people with certain underlying conditions, and some people over the age of 65 years.
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine : Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for anyone over 65 years of age, people with certain underlying conditions, and people who smoke.

According to the

  • roughly 8 in 10 babies from invasive pneumococcal disease
  • 45 in 100 adults 65 years or older against pneumococcal pneumonia
  • 75 in 100 adults 65 years or older against invasive pneumococcal disease

Read Also: How Do You Know Pneumonia

The Flu Pneumonia And Inflammation Create A Deadly Threat

Pneumococcal pneumonia can follow other viral infections, particularly influenza, says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The biology behind it:The flu virus attaches to, and infects, the cells lining the mucous membranes in the back of the throat, nose and bronchial tubes. Normally, the cells eject infectious agents out of the body via the nose or mouth, or they’re simply swallowed. But when impaired by the flu, the cells lining these membranes allow the bacteria to slip down into the bronchial tubes and trigger a secondary infection, in the lungs. The infection inflames the air sacs in the lungs, causing them to fill with pus and fluid. That not only makes it hard to breathe but can allow bacteria to escape into the bloodstream, causing an infection called sepsis, an aggressive inflammatory response that can, ultimately, lead to organ failure.

Pneumococcal pneumonia, of course, is also likely be a complication of respiratory syncytial virus , a common and highly contagious winter lung infection, whichuncharacteristicallyspread this summer, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the pneumococcal vaccine wont shield you from pneumonia that results from either of them. As Schaffner puts it, Pneumonia from Covid is a different sort of pneumonia.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Certainly, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns at all. Our bodies are fairly good at telling us when something is wrong, and if you just don’t feel right, by all means call. But it’s also important to contact your practitioner if:

  • You have symptoms such as coughing or wheezing that persist beyond two to three weeks.
  • Your symptoms start to get better, and then worsen again.
  • You cough up mucus that smells foul or has a rusty or blood-tinged appearance.
  • You develop a high fever .
  • You feel short of breath, especially if you note any shortness of breath at rest.
  • You have chest discomfort .
  • You develop nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea after you have been dealing with bronchitis for more than a day or so.
  • You cough up blood, even if it is just a trace.
  • You note a bluish color to your fingers or lips.

It’s especially important to see your healthcare provider if you are feeling short of breath, have an elevated respiratory rate, or an elevated heart rate.

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Effectiveness Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine

Children respond very well to the pneumococcal vaccine.

The introduction of this vaccine into the NHS childhood vaccination schedule has resulted in a large reduction in pneumococcal disease.

The pneumococcal vaccine given to older children and adults is thought to be around 50 to 70% effective at preventing pneumococcal disease.

Both types of pneumococcal vaccine are inactivated or “killed” vaccines and do not contain any live organisms. They cannot cause the infections they protect against.

Additional Recommendations For Pneumococcal Pneumonia


Choose one or both of the following.


A commercial garlic product should provide a daily dose equal to at least 4000 mg of fresh garlic, which translates to at least 10 mg alliin or a total allicin potential of 4000 mcg .

Hydrastis canadensis

Given berberines broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity and immune-enhancing effects, berberine-containing plants are an important consideration. The dosage should be based on berberine content. Because of the wide range of quality in goldenseal preparations, standardized extracts are recommended. The following dosages are intended to be given three times daily:

  • Dried root or as an infusion : 2 to 4 g
  • Tincture : 6 to 12 mL
  • Fluid extract : 2 to 4 mL
  • Solid extract : 250 to 500 mg

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What Is Acute Bronchitis

Bronchitis is inflammation of the breathing tubes. These airways are called bronchi. This inflammation causes increased mucus production and other changes. Although there are several different types of bronchitis, the most common are acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis may also be called a chest cold.

Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to 2 weeks. The cough can last for up to 8 weeks in some people. Chronic bronchitis lasts a long time. It is more common among smokers.

Preventing The Spread Of Pneumonia

You can help prevent the spread of a pneumonia by taking some simple hygiene precautions.

These include:

  • washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, particularly after touching your nose and mouth, and before handling food
  • coughing and sneezing into a tissue, then throwing it away immediately and washing your hands
  • not sharing cups or kitchen utensils with others

Read Also: What Can Pneumonia Lead To

What Vaccines Do You Need

  • COVID-19 vaccine. Canadians with chronic lung disease may be more likely to experience severe illness, including hospitalization due to COVID-19. It is important to get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is available to you. Find out more here.
  • Flu vaccine. This type of vaccine can reduce the risk of serious illness, such as infections requiring hospitalizations. The flu vaccine can prevent flare-ups of your COPD. People with asthma are more likely to experience complications from the flu.
  • Pneumococcal vaccines. Canadians with existing lung disease are more likely to become severely ill from pneumonia. Some types of pneumococcal infections are prevented with vaccination. People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu vaccine. As there are two pneumonia vaccines, some people with chronic lung disease, including asthma may require two different vaccines to obtain better protection. Check with your doctor to find out what type of pneumonia vaccine you may need.

Why It Is Important To Do This Review

Pneumococcal Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Acute exacerbations of COPD reflect intense intrabronchial inflammation, where recurrent exacerbations are linked to worsening of airflow obstruction and health status of the individual. Acute exacerbations of COPD can be fatal. Recent studies demonstrate that oral immunotherapy with NTHi reduces the level of bacterial colonisation in the airways as well as the incidence and severity of acute exacerbations .

As chronic antibiotic therapy is not particularly feasible, an oral, wholecell vaccination for NTHi has been developed to reduce morbidity and mortality in people at risk. Clinical benefit has been reflected in reduced incidence and severity of exacerbations in a number of studies. A review of trials that use oral NTHi wholecell vaccinations should evaluate if oral immunotherapy provides a significant therapeutic advance in limiting damage in COPD and may highlight the pathogenic role of bacterial colonisation of damaged airways.

This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 1998 and last updated in 2006 . The previous authors concluded that participants with recurrent bronchitis vaccinated in the autumn had a decreased incidence and severity of their exacerbations during winter.

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How Your Healthcare Provider Chooses

Your healthcare provider will only prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis if they think bacteria are causing your symptoms and youre at high risk of the infection not resolving on its own.

If a virus causes your bronchitis, they wont give you antibiotics because the antibiotics wouldnt do anything. If youre young and generally healthy, they probably wont prescribe anything either.

A Cochrane report last updated in 2017 found little evidence that antibiotics help acute bronchitis in healthy people, but recommended further study for patients that are elderly, frail, or have other conditions that may make bronchitis worse.

When considering treatment, your healthcare provider will look at:

  • If youve had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic in the past
  • Other health conditions, like autoimmune diseases, heart conditions, and lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Your history with smoking or vaping
  • The oxygen levels in your blood

If your practitioner decides to prescribe an antibiotic, the treatment they choose will be based on your medical history, personal details, symptoms, diagnosis, and test results.

How Can You Prevent Pneumonia

If you have bronchitis, the best way to prevent pneumonia is to treat the condition early. Recognizing the symptoms of bronchitis can help you get treatment sooner. Early symptoms of bronchitis are similar to those of a cold or the flu. They may include:

  • runny nose
  • fever of 100°F to 100.4°F
  • feeling tired
  • back and muscle aches

Youll then develop a dry cough which will become productive after a few days. A productive cough is one that produces mucus. The mucus may be yellow or green.

Bacterial bronchitis more commonly leads to pneumonia than viral bronchitis. Thats because the bacteria multiply and spread.

In some cases, its still possible to contract pneumonia even if youre taking antibiotics to treat bronchitis. This is because antibiotics are very specifically selected for the bacteria theyre targeting. If youre taking antibiotics for one type of bacteria, its still possible for pneumonia to be caused by another type.

Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics if you have bacterial bronchitis. Antibiotics cant treat viral bronchitis or any other virus.

Its possible for anyone to develop pneumonia following bronchitis, but certain groups of people are at greater risk. These groups typically have weakened immune systems. You may be at an increased risk for pneumonia following bronchitis if you:

  • are under the age of 2 or over the age of 65
  • have had a stroke

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The Different Types Of Pneumococcal Vaccine

The type of pneumococcal vaccine you’re given depends on your age and health. There are 2 types.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is used to vaccinate children under 2 years old as part of the NHS vaccination schedule. It’s known by the brand name Prevenar 13.

Children at risk of pneumococcal infections can have the PPV vaccine from the age of 2 years onwards. The PPV vaccine is not very effective in children under the age of 2.

When To See A Doctor

Concerns about lung infection from coronavirus raise questions about pneumonia vaccine

A person who is over 65 years of age should talk to their doctor about which pneumonia vaccine may be best for them. The doctor can help determine whether they should get the vaccination, which vaccination to get, and when to get it.

Parents and caregivers of young children should talk to a pediatrician about the schedule for the pneumonia vaccination. The pediatrician can also address any questions or concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination.

A person does not need to see a doctor for mild reactions to the vaccine, such as tenderness at the injection site, fever, or fatigue.

However, if a person experiences any life threatening side effects, they should seek emergency help immediately.

Signs and symptoms of allergic reactions in children may include:

  • respiratory distress, such as wheezing

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Resources To Learn More

Adults with Chronic Conditions: Get Vaccinated Website Describes vaccine-preventable diseases which adults with different chronic conditions are at higher risk of acquiring and outlines adult vaccination recommendations.Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COPD and Vaccines: What You Should Know Document Downloadable handout for health professionals, patients, and the general public providing an overview of the importance of vaccines for patients with COPD and identifying which vaccines are recommended.Organization: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Date: 10/2018

Q: Ive Heard That The Pneumonia Shot Will Help Protect Me Against Getting Sick From Coronavirus Is That True

A: The pneumonia shot can help protect you against getting really sick with other types of viruses, like influenza, but not from the coronavirus, which causes pneumonia all by itself.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Often times, we see that influenza can lead to secondary infections with other types of bacteria that the pneumonia shot prevents. But because coronavirus is bad enough on its own, the pneumonia shot doesnt offer protection against it.

Still, its important for some people to get the pneumonia shot, regardless of COVID-19. The germs that cause pneumonia are still out there, they arent waiting on the sidelines for coronavirus to finish its job.

The pneumonia shot is recommended for the following groups:

  • Allbabies and children younger than 2 years old.
  • Alladults 65 years or older.
  • Adults19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.
  • Childrenolder than 2 and adults younger than 65 who have certain chronic diseases.
  • Thosewho are at increased risk for certain diseases and those who have impaired immune systems.

If you fall into one of these categories, talk to your doctor about getting the pneumonia shot to help protect you from getting really sick from other viruses. But when it comes down to it, the pneumonia shot doesnt offer protection specifically against coronavirus.

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