Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
How To Stay Safe
Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness just as pneumonia is, it is important to do your best to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19, which could potentially cause severe respiratory complications.
The same precautions you’ve been taking to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic will, of course, keep you safe from developing pneumonia secondary to COVID-19, too. Be diligent about wearing a well-fitting mask, social distancing, and washing your hands.
A few other tips to keep in mind for recovery from pneumonia are to:
- Control your fever with NSAIDs or acetaminophen .
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and to cough up phlegm.
- Avoid taking cough medicines before talking to your healthcare provider first because coughing is one of the ways your body is working to get rid of the pneumonia infection.
- Drink warm beverages like tea or hot water.
- Use a humidifier, and take steamy baths or showers to help open your airway and ease your breathing.
- Stay away from smoke to allow your lungs to heal themselves. If you are a smoker, this would be a good time to think about quitting.
- Get rest. Stay home and take it easy for a while until you feel better and stronger.
These are all things you can do from the safety and comfort of your own home. Taking care of yourself and seeking medical care as needed can help keep you safe from COVID-19.
How Can I Prevent Pneumonia
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccination for:
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination for:
If you have been experiencing pneumonia symptoms, make an appointmentwith your provider today. Prompt treatment of pneumonia isimportant for recovery. Requestan appointment with a family medicine provider to receive your flu andpneumococcal vaccinations.
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Ive Had Treatment For My Chest Infection But Im Still Having Symptoms What Should I Do Now
The cough from a chest infection is usually the last symptom to go and could last up to three weeks, even after treatment. If you find you’ve still got a cough after your chest infection has cleared up, this might be a sign that your airways are still inflamed, so its worth seeing your doctor.
You should also see a doctor if:
- your asthma is waking you at night
- you feel like your chest infection has cleared up, but youre still having asthma symptoms three or more times a week
- your chest infection doesnt get completely better after a course of treatment.
You should phone 111 or 999 if you:
- feel your chest infection symptoms get worse at any point
- develop a fever
- stopping smoking get help to quit smoking.
Avoid colds and flu
Try to protect yourself from other infections like colds and flu, as this will make a chest infection less likely. Our page on colds and flu has lots of practical ideas you can follow to protect yourself against them.
Next review due November 2023
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Treatment For A Chest Infection
If your chest infection is making your asthma symptoms worse, your doctor might give you a course of steroid tablets or make changes to your inhaled medicines to treat the flare up.
Your doctor will probably be able to tell whether you need antibiotics, although they might send a sample of your phlegm away to be tested.
If theyre not sure, they might give you a delayed prescription of antibiotics, meaning you should only take them if you dont feel better in a few days. Most chest infections are caused by viruses, which cant be treated with antibiotics.
Viral chest infections cant be treated by antibiotics. It can be tempting to ask for antibiotics just in case because you want to get rid of your symptoms. But its important that you only take antibiotics if you really need them.
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How To Prevent Pneumonia
The bottom line? Check in with your doctor as soon start experiencing symptoms of pneumonia, especially if those symptoms start getting worse.
Even better than treatment is prevention, which comes in the form of immunization, says Dr. Niederman. Make sure you get your flu shot every year, and if youre someone suffering from chronic illness or youre over the age of 65, ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects your body against the streptococcus bacteria. And once a coronavirus vaccine is available to you, get vaccinated.
And the same advice weve all been following to prevent the spread of COVID works for all types of pneumonia: Wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly , disinfecting your phone and counters, finding time to unwind from the days stress, getting plenty of sleep, and eating a healthy diet full of immunity-supporting foods all work toward keeping malicious bugs out of your system.
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How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.
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Can You Catch Pneumonia More Than Once
Yes. Pneumonia is caused by many different microbes, and so getting it once does not protect you from getting it again. If you get pneumonia more than once you may need to have more investigations to understand why this has happened. It could be due to a problem in your chest or your immune system, and you may be referred to a specialist.
How Do You Get Pneumonia
Pneumonia can be contracted tons of different ways, from inhalation of fumes to living in a moldy building. Overall, its divided into two different categories: community-acquired pneumonia and hospital acquired pneumonia, says Norman Edelman, M.D., senior scientific advisor to the American Lung Association.
Community-acquired pneumonia can be acquired anywhere, anytime. Bacterial and viral pneumonia are contagious, so you can pick it up from someones stray cough or sneeze, by sharing cups, or not washing your hands as often as you should.
Then there is hospital-acquired pneumonia, which is the kind you pick up while staying in the hospital or at a chronic care facility, like a nursing home or rehab center. We make that distinction because the bugs that cause these two types of pneumonia tend to be different and treated differently, says Dr. Edelman.
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It Might Feel Like A Cold
Walking pneumonia is how some people describe a mild case of pneumonia. Your doctor might call it âatypical pneumoniaâ because itâs not like more serious cases.
A lung infection is often to blame. Lots of things can cause it, including:
- Inhaled food
Walking pneumonia usually is due to bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
You probably wonât have to stay in bed or in the hospital. You might even feel good enough go to work and keep up your routine, just as you might with a cold.
I Don’t Have A Rapid Test But I Have Symptoms What Should I Do
Again, it depends on where you live and whether tests are available.
A study from the United Kingdom shows the most common symptoms associated with the Omicron variant are the same as the common cold: runny nose, headache, sneezing and sore throat.
“It is really hard for people to know the difference, which is why it is so important to get tested,” Carr said.
Ideally, you should book a molecular COVID-19 test with your local public health unit. But that’s hard in some areas.
In Ottawa for example, where test centres are overwhelmed, people have been told to assume the worst until they can get in.
“If you have symptoms, you should assume you have COVID-19 and self-isolate,” Ottawa’s chief public health officer Dr. Vera Etches said in a statement Friday.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
- Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
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Video: Chest Infections And Asthma
0:00 Chest infections can be a real pain making you feel horribleand getting in the way of work and your social life. If you have asthma, they can also make your asthma symptoms worse.and getting in the way of work and your social life. If you have asthma, they can also make your asthma symptoms worse.Thats why the best thing you can do is to take your preventer inhaler, as its made to calm down the inflammation in your airways. Taking it daily as prescribed will reduce your asthma symptoms and make your chest infection a lot more bearableChest infections have similar symptoms to asthma like coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.This can make it hard to tell whether you have a chest infection or if your asthma symptoms are getting worse.The biggest indicator of a chest infection is a high temperature of 38 degrees or above. If you have some, or all, of these symptoms, it might be a chest infection:A temperature of 38 degrees or aboveA chesty wet coughLots of yellow or green phlegm that is thick, and may be smellyChest pain or discomfortA headacheAching musclesOr tirednessIf your chest infection is making your asthma symptoms worse. Sometimes your doctor might give you a course of steroids to treat the flare up.If your reliever medication isn’t lasting for four hoursIf your asthma is waking you at nightIf you feel like your chest infection has cleared up, but youre still having asthma symptoms, such as a dry cough or breathlessness.
Can I Prevent Pneumonia
The routine vaccinations that most people receive as kids help prevent certain types of pneumonia and other infections. If you have a chronic illness, such as sickle cell disease, you may have received extra vaccinations and disease-preventing antibiotics to help prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by bacteria.
People should get a pneumococcal vaccination if they have diseases that affect their immune system , are 65 years or older, or are in other high-risk groups. Depending on the bugs that are likely to affect them, these people also may get antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, as well as antiviral medicine to prevent or lessen the effects of viral pneumonia.
Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot. That’s because someone with the flu could then come down with pneumonia. Call your doctor’s office or check your local health department to see when these vaccines are available.
Because pneumonia is often caused by germs, a good way to prevent it is to keep your distance from anyone you know who has pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Use separate drinking glasses and eating utensils wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and avoid touching used tissues and paper towels.
You also can stay strong and help avoid some of the illnesses that might lead to pneumonia by eating as healthily as possible, getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, and not smoking.
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Things People Dont Tell You About Pneumonia
While many of you mightve thought I have been on a hiatus due to winning the lottery and spending the past month enjoying my new home in Italy, Ive actually just been sick. Really, really sick. How sick, you ask? So sick that I couldnt even read. THAT sick.
You see, I went home to Texas for a quick, early Christmas visit with family in mid-December and came back with the worst gift ever: H1N1 flu.
Its an evil, evil virus, folks. As in fetal position for six days. And then for me, it quickly turned into pneumonia, with a side of kidney and liver failure. I spent many days in the hospital. Christmas and New Years never happened, really.
Basically, you know those stories you read in the newspaper about previously healthy people who get the flu and die unexpectedly? Well, that was ALMOST me. I was one of the lucky ones who pulled through.
Its been two weeks since I got out of the hospital now, and Im still on oxygen. Which makes me feel about 90 years old, and is something that I never dreamed Id need in my 40s.
Here are a few other things that no one ever told me about pneumonia.
1. When you are in the throes of pneumonia, before the antibiotics start to kick in, every time you cough, you will feel as though someone is reaching down through your lungs and pulling out your soul. And the sound will be violent. Horribly violent.
Have you ever had H1N1 and/or pneumonia? Whats been your experience?
Why Does It Take So Long To Recover From Pneumonia
You can’t see the damage pneumonia causes, but you certainly feel it.
The air sacs in your lungs become inflamed during pneumonia, leading to soreness and pain. If the infection and inflammation progress, your lungs may fill with fluid and dead lung tissue, leading to the green, yellow or even bloody mucus you cough up. This fluid may also affect how well oxygen is able to transfer into your bloodstream, leading to difficulty breathing.
“Once the infection is cleared with treatment, your body still has to deal with removing all of the fluid, damage and debris left behind in your lungs. This can take a few weeks, resulting in a lingering cough and reduced lung capacity,” explains Dr. Lee. “During this time, you may find physical exertion more tiring than usual.”
A more severe case of pneumonia can cause even more damage to your lungs, which can be significant and even permanent in some cases.
“After severe pneumonia, lung capacity is reduced and muscles may be weak from being so ill. Significant weight loss can further contribute to weakness and other health conditions may be aggravated due to the stress placed on the body during illness. These are all things your body will need time to recover from,” says Dr. Lee.
In fact, it may take another several months for you to fully heal and regain strength.
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