A Flu Vaccine Is The Best Protection Against Flu
Flu vaccination has many benefits. It has been shown to reduce flu illnesses and also to reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes that can result in hospitalization or even death in older people. Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
The best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications is with a flu vaccine. CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year, ideally by the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even into January or later.
Flu vaccination is especially important for people 65 years and older because they are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. Flu vaccines are updated each season to keep up with changing viruses. Also, immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against flu. Because immunity may decrease more quickly in older people, it is especially important that this group is not vaccinated too early . September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated for people 65 years and older.
What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia
People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.
Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:
- General decline in quality of life for months or years
How To Prevent Pneumonia In Elderly Loved Ones
The key to preventing complications like sepsis is preventing infections like pneumonia from occurring in the first place. Since influenza predisposes elderly people to pneumonia, the number of cases tends to spike during flu season. Dr. Schaffner recommends that all people over age 65 get an annual flu shot as well as a pneumococcal vaccine. This one-time shot protects against the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
Caregivers and other family members should also be vaccinated to avoid getting sick themselves and passing the illness to their loved ones. The CDC recommends that anyone who has prolonged contact with an elderly person should get vaccinated, urges Dr. Schaffner.
In addition to staying current with vaccines, a healthy lifestyle plays a critical role in preventing pneumonia. Quitting smoking, practicing good oral hygiene, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritious diet can all help boost a seniors immune system and stave off diseases. Of course, good hand-washing habits are another strong defense.
It is important for family caregivers to educate themselves on pneumonia and other medical conditions that commonly affect seniors. This information will give you added peace of mind that you are doing as much as you can to keep your loved one healthy.
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What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
Vaccine Effective In Older Adults
The main goal of the study was to see how well Prevnar 13 works against a first episode of vaccine-type community-acquired pneumonia . It also was effective against a first episode of non-bacteremic/non-invasive vaccine-type CAP, or VT-CAP, and a first episode of vaccine-type invasive pneumococcal disease . The study is the largest double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of a vaccine ever conducted in adults.
We are pleased with the outcome of the CAPiTA study, which demonstrated that Prevnar 13 can prevent vaccine-type pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia in adults, Dr. William Gruber, Pfizers senior vice president of vaccine clinical research, said in a press release.
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Early Signs Of Pneumonia
The early signs of pneumonia vary from mild to severe such as fever, nausea, vomiting,dry or cough with mucus, difficulty in breathing, chest pains, unusual weakness etc
Early Signs of Pneumonia
Pneumonia in general terms is an infection caused by a variety of microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites either in one or both the lungs. Often, the infection of pneumonia begins after it first affects the nose and throat also known as the upper respiratory tract. This results in collection of fluids in the lungs which makes the breathing process difficult.
Symptoms of pneumonia irrespective of the cause usually come in suddenly in, otherwise healthy people, who are below the age of 65. The signs of pneumonia often start developing initially with a viral infection such as a cold or flu. The early signs of pneumonia in adults can vary from, Mild, Moderate to severe depending on the cause. If the early signs of Pneumonia are ignored, it may prove to be fatal or dangerous.
A bacterial pneumonia on the other hand usually develops more quickly and show obvious symptoms such as cough with green or little blood in mucus, fever, episodes of shivering, difficulty in breathing, sharp pain in the chest walls etc. An infected person may also feel rapid increase in heartbeat, unusual weakness and tiredness, nausea, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea.
When To Call Your Doctor
Pneumonia is a serious illness with potentially life-threatening complications, so dont hesitate to seek medical help if you believe that you, your child, or a relative is showing symptoms that could be due to pneumonia.
Pneumonia could be difficult to diagnose partly because the severity of the infection is not always obvious at first. Initial symptoms are often mild and similar to those of cold or flu.
Only a doctor can diagnose the disease based on your recent contacts, medical history, and symptoms. He may conduct a physical examination, order a chest x-ray, CT scan, blood, and sputum tests.
It is dangerous to delay while trying to self-diagnose or self-medicate if you believe you may have the illness.
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How Can I Help Myself Feel Better
If your doctor has prescribed medicine, follow the directions carefully.
You may feel better in a room with a humidifier, which increases the moisture in the air and soothes irritated lungs. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever. If you have a fever and feel uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring it down. But don’t take any medicine without checking first with your doctor a cough suppressant, for example, may not allow your lungs to clear themselves of mucus.
And finally, be sure to rest. This is a good time to sleep, watch TV, read, and lay low. If you treat your body right, it will repair itself and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Adults And Children
Pneumonia causes inflammation and filling of the alveoli with pus , making it difficult for sufferers to breathe and get oxygen into their bloodstreams for distribution to the body tissues and organs.
Pneumonia localized to one or more lobes of a lung is called lobar pneumonia. Infection that spreads in patches across lung tissues without localization is called bronchial pneumonia or bronchopneumonia. However, it is often difficult in practice to distinguish between bronchial and lobar pneumonia.
The symptoms of pneumonia vary from case to case. Depending on the degree of severity of the infection, symptoms may vary from mild to moderate and severe, with coughing, difficulty breathing, chills, and fever.
The severity of infection depends on many factors. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as iron deficiency may predispose to severe illness. The immune status of the patient, pathogen load, and age are also significant factors.
Infants, young children, and older people are the most susceptible to severe pneumonia illness.
Age is perhaps one of the most significant factors. Younger children are more susceptible and have more severe disease,CARE healthy living Medical Advisor Dr. Moyo Adeyemi, FRCPC, explained. Of course, we see more cases in winter due to RSV , flu, and other less common respiratory viruses.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In The Elderly
As with many diseases and illnesses, the signs and symptoms vary from one person to the next and may mimic other disorders too. In general terms, the following are common signs and symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly.
As mentioned, the symptoms of pneumonia vary from one person to the next and change based on the health level of the person who is inflicted. Those with chronic disease have the hardest time, but pneumonia can be deadly even in the healthiest of our elders.
Preventing Pneumonia In The Elderly
- Wash their hands frequently: Everyone knows this piece of advice, but not everyone follows it. They should though, because frequent handwashing can greatly lower the risk of infections, including pneumonia.
- Get vaccinated: Getting the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine lowers seniors risk of getting bacterial pneumonia. Doctors recommend people get a first dose in their 50s, a second dose at age 65 and an additional dose every five years. An annual flu vaccine can also lower risk of pneumonia, because pneumonia sometimes develops as a complication of the flu.
- Avoid people who have a cold or the flu: It may feel rude, but safety comes first. Make plans to see them when theyre feeling better. If you must be around people who are sick, wear a medical face mask to protect yourself.
- Keep their teeth clean: Infected teeth are a prime place for a pneumonia infection to strike. Practice good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly to prevent that from happening.
- Keep their homes clean: Dust, mold and mildew can hurt the lungs and increase risk of pneumonia. Seniors may need help from a loved one or a professional cleaning service to keep their homes free from these irritants.
- Live a healthy life: Some of the practices used to treat pneumonia, like getting lots of rest, eating healthy and staying hydrated, can also help fend off illness in the first place. Getting regular exercise and choosing not to smoke cigarettes is also important.
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Why Pneumonia Often Attacks Seniors
One reason is that immunity decreases after the age of 50. So its no surprise that someone over 90 years of age has weakened immunity. Pneumonia that has inflammatory characteristics in the lungs is common in winter. In addition, there are also other respiratory diseases such as flu that are contagious in winter.
What Are The Treatments For Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, which germ is causing it, and how severe it is:
- Antibiotics treat bacterial pneumonia and some types of fungal pneumonia. They do not work for viral pneumonia.
- In some cases, your provider may prescribe antiviral medicines for viral pneumonia
- Antifungal medicines treat other types of fungal pneumonia
You may need to be treated in a hospital if your symptoms are severe or if you are at risk for complications. While there, you may get additional treatments. For example, if your blood oxygen level is low, you may receive oxygen therapy.
It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more.
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What Causes Pneumonia
Pneumonia is usually the result of a bacterial infection.
As well as bacterial pneumonia, other types include:
- viral pneumonia caused by a virus, such as coronavirus
- aspiration pneumonia caused by breathing in vomit, a foreign object, such as a peanut, or a harmful substance, such as smoke or a chemical
- fungal pneumonia rare in the UK and more likely to affect people with a weakened immune system
- hospital-acquired pneumonia pneumonia that develops in hospital while being treated for another condition or having an operation people in intensive care on breathing machines are particularly at risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia
What Is Prevnar 13
In 2009, the vaccine was introduced for use in infants and young children in Europe. Its now allowed in more than 120 countries across the globe. Prevnar 13 is approved for use in adults 50 years of age and older in more than 90 countries, and is also approved in the U.S. and European Union for use in older children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years.
Prevnar 13 was licensed by the FDA under an accelerated approval process to address an unmet medical need in older adults. As a requirement of the accelerated approval pathway, Pfizer conducted CAPiTA to verify clinical benefit.
Prevnar 13 is also known as Prevenar 13, its name in many overseas markets.
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What Causes Pneumonia In Elderly Adults
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. In the U.S., pneumonia in the elderly is usually caused by bacteria or a virus.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia, affecting more than 900,000 Americans each year, according to the ALA. This type of pneumonia is caused by a germ called Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can occur on its own or after someone has a cold or the flu.
These groups are at increased risk for bacterial pneumonia:
- Adults 65 and older
- People with a weakened immune system
- Patients recovering from surgery
- People with other respiratory conditions or viral infections
Viruses can also cause pneumonia. The influenza virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults. Pneumonia caused by the influenza virus can be severe and even deadly, especially in people with other health conditions such as heart or lung disease.
Coronavirus disease 2019 can also cause a severe type of double pneumonia that may lead to long-lasting lung damage. It may take several months to recover. Pneumonia associated with COVID-19 can sometimes be fatal, especially in high-risk populations like elderly adults.
How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
Do I have a cold or could it be the flu or even pneumonia? Its tough to tell the difference but critical to know when to seek medical care
Watch for these ongoing symptoms that occur in pneumonia:
- Serious congestion or chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A fever of 102 or higher.
- Coughing that produces pus.
Pneumonia symptoms last longer than cold and flu. If your symptoms arent severe, its okay to try such home remedies as getting more rest, drinking more fluids and taking some over-the-counter medicines and see what happens. But if you dont see improvement in your symptoms after three to five days, or if you are experiencing more serious symptoms such as dizziness or severe difficulty breathing, see your healthcare provider. Dont let it go. Pneumonia-like symptoms in very young children or in adults older than 65 are a cause for concern. Also, pneumonia can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated for too long. And always seek immediate care if you experience chest pain or have breathing difficulties.
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Pneumonia Owing To Less Common Pathogens Including Multidrug
Gram-negative bacilli are detected in 2.8% to 14.0% of CAP cases, and may colonize the respiratory tract of elderly patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia, particularly those admitted to the hospital from LTCFs., Among LTCF patients with severe aspiration pneumonia, enteric Gram-negative bacilli were detected as the predominant cause in 49% of cases.
In the Competence Network for Community-Acquired Pneumonia study, predictors of CAP owing to Enterobacteriaceae included age greater than 65 years, heart failure and cerebrovascular disease.Pseudomonas aeruginosa was reported in 2.0% to 17.1% of patients, and was associated with impaired swallowing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis, severe disease, admission from nursing homes, and presence of a feeding tube., , , , Although there are no data that support empiric anti-Pseudomonas treatment in elderly patients, this pathogen should be considered in severe infection in the presence of structural lung disease and known prior colonization.
Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae
Staphylococcus aureus including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Risk factors for community-acquired pneumonia owing to multidrug-resistant organisms
When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia
You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:
- Shortness of breath or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Mucus, fever or cough
If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.
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How Is Pneumonia In The Elderly Treated
For most adults, antibiotics are used to treat pneumonia. For those who are more fragile or who have other health issues, inpatient treatment is required. This can mean being admitted to the ICU, being intubated and placed on a respirator, and having advanced breathing treatments with pneumonia-specific medications. It can also mean all of these treatment options.