What You Should Know About Pneumonia — and How to Prevent It

The CDC says everyone over age 65 should have a pneumonia vaccine.

Every year, more than one million adults are hospitalized with pneumonia, which is second only to childbirth when it comes to hospital admissions. Unfortunately, approximately 50,000 people end up dying due to the illness. While we never like to start a conversation using scare tactics, we bring up these numbers to underscore the importance of protecting yourself against this very dangerous disease.

Here at Advanced Infectious Disease Medical, under the expert guidance of Dr. Avisheh Forouzesh, our goal is to educate our clients in Hoboken, New Jersey, about infectious diseases and find ways to prevent them in the first place.

In the following, we discuss the different types of pneumonia and how you can best protect your family and yourself from contracting this serious lung infection.

Pneumonia 101

Pneumonia is a serious infection that lodges itself in the air sacs in your lungs, causing them to become inflamed. In an effort to fight off the infection, your body responds with mucus and fluids, which fill the air sacs in your lungs, making it hard for you to breathe. Pneumonia can also be extremely difficult to treat once the infection takes hold.

Symptoms of pneumonia are similar to those of the flu, but often last longer and are generally more severe, and include:

simply say pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. However, the most common type is caused by streptococcus and is referred to as "pneumococcal pneumonia.” It tends to attack individuals with weakened immune systems, including older people and those with compromised immune systems. In fact, a third of all cases of pneumonia start with the flu or other respiratory viruses.

If you think you may be among this high-risk group, it’s important to discuss that with your doctor and to get vaccinated against pneumonia.

Pneumonia is further categorized by where you were infected. The first type of pneumonia is called community-acquired pneumonia, which is an infection that develops outside a healthcare environment.

The second type of pneumonia is labeled hospital-acquired pneumonia, and as the name implies, it develops in hospitals, especially among those who are on ventilators.

Lastly, there’s healthcare-acquired pneumonia, which describes any pneumonia that develops in the context of a healthcare environment, such as senior communities or outpatient centers.

An ounce of prevention

When it comes to protecting yourself against pneumonia, there are several ways to go about it, starting with vaccinations. The CDC recommends pneumonia vaccinations for people over the age of 65 and for those with certain chronic conditions such as COPD, asthma, diabetes, or any condition that weakens your immune system. Some medications can also weaken your immune system. There are two types of pneumonia vaccinations that are recommended by the CDC. If you have any questions visit Dr.Forouzesh for more information.

Outside of vaccination, there are some things you can do on your own to ward off pneumonia, such as washing your hands frequently, quitting smoking, and making sure you’re well-rested and healthy.

For more information on preventing and treating pneumonia, please don’t hesitate to call us or use the online booking tool found on this website to set up an appointment.

 

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