Illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia are more prevalent during the winter season. It is commonly known that getting the flu vaccine is one of the best defenses against the flu virus but did you know that there is a vaccine that can help to prevent pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. It is most often caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumonia vaccine helps to prevent pneumonia infections and complications caused by these bacteria.
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, and may include:
- Shortness of breath
It is important to receive prompt treatment for pneumonia because bacteria can spread from the lungs to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body. This may require hospitalization and if left untreated can lead to death.
Who can get the pneumonia vaccine?
- Children- Most children will receive the pneumonia vaccine in multiple doses as part of their childhood vaccinations before 2 years of age.
- Adults- Adults aged 19 to 64 years old who smoke cigarettes, use alcohol excessively or have chronic heart, lung or liver disease are recommended to receive one dose of the pneumonia vaccine.
- Elderly- All patients aged 65 and older should receive at least one dose of the pneumonia vaccine.
Unlike the flu vaccine, which is given every year during the fall/winter season, the pneumonia vaccine can be received at any time. However, you do not have to get the pneumonia vaccine every year. Speak with your doctor about recommendations based on your age and immunization status.
The vaccine is a good way to prevent yourself from getting pneumonia, but remember, if you do have pneumonia, the flu or even the common cold, always wash your hands and cover your face when sneezing or coughing to prevent spreading it to others.
To speak with or see a Family Medicine doctor about the pneumonia vaccine, please call 718-206-6942.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.