Millions of people every year experience pneumonia.
- Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by infection from many possible causes: bacteria, viruses and even some kinds of fungi.
- Typical symptoms are coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and fever.
- The severity of pneumonia depends on the age and health of the person who has it, as well as the type of organism that causes the disease.
Bacterial pneumonia is the most common type in adults.
- Pneumonia caused by bacterial infection is the most common and most serious type of pneumonia in adults.
- Bacterial pneumonia is usually caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- Children can be different: viral pneumonia is more prevalent in pediatric cases.
Pneumonia can be serious or fatal in older adults.
- The elderly are most at risk for serious complications from pneumonia.
- Elderly or chronically ill people may find it harder to recover, and may even die from pneumonia due to their weaker immune systems.
- Healthy adults will recover from pneumonia in about two weeks, given the proper treatment.
Pneumonia is preventable, especially for those who are vaccinated.
- Colds or flu can lead to pneumonia by easing the entry of bacteria to the lungs and weakening the immune system.
- The most important way to prevent pneumonia is to get the pneumonia vaccine.
- At high risk are those age 65 or older, those with chronic illness, and those with a weakened immune system.
Good respiratory hygiene can help.
- Cover your mouth when you cough, and your nose when you sneeze.
- Use tissues and dispose of them immediately after use.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently throughout the day.
You can get a pneumonia shot at health department clinics.
- Medicare or Medicaid offsets the cost of pneumonia vaccination.
- You can be vaccinated at any of our health department clinics. Contact your local clinic to find out more.