With cold and flu season in full swing, it is important to protect your body against viral and bacterial infections. Pneumonia, an infection in the lungs caused by a virus, is one to look out for this winter. Learn more about pneumonia to help you and your family stay healthy this season.
What age groups are at higher risk for pneumonia? While everyone can develop pneumonia, infants younger than two years old and individuals older than 65 years old are at greater risk.
What are symptoms of pneumonia? Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, chills, chest pain, sore throat and coughing. However, symptoms may vary. Always talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
How can you get pneumonia? An individual can develop pneumonia in several different ways, like breathing in infected air particles. Individuals are at greater risk of developing pneumonia if they have a cold or the flu. A complication of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox, can also lead to pneumonia.
How can I prevent pneumonia? A pneumonia vaccination shot can help prevent pneumonia, which is caused by a certain bacteria. The pneumonia vaccine (PPV) protects against 23 types of pneumonia and is recommended for adults over age 65. For most adults, only one dose is needed. However, if you are over the age of 65 and have not received the vaccination in more than five years, you may be eligible for a second dose. To learn more about the pneumonia shot and other treatments, consult with your doctor.
Gregory Sweat, MD
Family Medicine Physician and Medical Director of the Shawnee Mission Physicians Group
Many factors can affect the health of your family. Click here for simple tips from Gregory Sweat, MD on how to keep your family well.