How to Prevent Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection. It can make you very sick; some of the symptoms include high fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. Bacteria, fungi and viruses all can cause pneumonia; however, the common causes are influenza virus and pneumococcus bacteria. You can get pneumonia from different areas, such as work or school. In a normal occasion, pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics and it will clear up within 3 weeks. However, there are measures that you can take to prevent pneumonia in the first place.

How to Prevent Pneumonia with Vaccines

There is no vaccine which can prevent all types of pneumonia. Currently there are two pneumococcal vaccines in the market. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV is recommended for children below the age of 5. On the other hand, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine or PPSV is recommended for children who are two ages or older with a weaker immune system. In addition, the vaccine can be given to adults who are at a risk of getting pneumonia. The vaccine can be administered if you:

  • Are 65 or over 65 years of age
  • Are a smoker
  • Are an alcoholic
  • Have certain conditions like diabetes, asthma, lung disease, or heart disease
  • Have liver cirrhosis
  • Have immune infections such as HIV and AIDS , damaged spleen or kidney failure
  • Have sickle cell disease
  • Have cochlear implants
  • Are on immunosuppressant drugs
  • Are receiving chemotherapy

You should note that the pneumococcal vaccines will not prevent all cases of pneumonia. However, it will reduce the chances of suffering life-threatening complications. Other vaccines used in preventing pneumonia which can be caused by other common diseases include measles, flu and chickenpox vaccines.

How to Prevent Pneumonia with Other Methods

Besides vaccines, you can take other measures to prevent pneumonia. 

1.   Practice Good Hygiene

Our hands touch all types of germs throughout the day. Germs can be picked from computer keyboard, other people’s hands, doorknobs, etc. It is imperative that you take your time to wash your hands, especially before eating or after using the restroom. You can use warm or lukewarm water and wash with soap at least for 30 seconds. In situations where you do not have soap, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

2.   Don't Smoke

Smoking has many adverse side effects which damage the lungs. Smoking makes it difficult for the body to defend itself from germs emanating from various pathogens. If you are a smoker, talk to a doctor and the support groups to leave the habit.

3.   Stay Away From Other Sick People

Pneumonia can be easily contracted. If you have a low or weakened immune system, it is essential that you stay away from other sick people. Avoid places that you can pick more germs to lessen the chances of getting pneumonia.

4.   Keep Your Immune System Up

A strong immune system is the key in how to prevent pneumonia. Follow these tips to have a strengthened immune system.

  • Taking too much sugar, not maintaining a healthy weight, a lack of sleep and  too much stress all can negatively affect your immune system. Try to correct them in your life.
  • It is recommended that you eat healthy foods with plenty of vitamins and proteins to boost your immune system.
  • If you lack certain vitamins such as vitamin D, then you can take it  from the Sun exposure or from a supplement.
  • A poor immune system can result from lack of exercise. Do exercises regularly to make your immune system work at the full capacity.

How to Treat Pneumonia

The knowledge of how to treat pneumonia is equally important with that of how to prevent pneumonia. The treatment of pneumonia involves the prevention of complications and cure of the infection. If you are suffering from community-acquired pneumonia, then this can be treated at home with proper medication. The symptoms will ease after a few days or weeks, although the feeling of tiredness may persist for a month or so. The treatment of pneumonia depends on the type and severity of the condition, the age of the patient and overall health state. The treatment options available include:

  • Antibiotics – These are medicines used to treat pneumonia caused by bacteria. Although it may take some time to identify the type of bacteria that causes your infection, the doctor will be in a position to choose the best antibiotic to treat it. If symptoms persist, then a change in medication may be required.
  • Cough Medication – This is a medicine used to reduce a cough so that the patient can have enough rest. A cough plays an essential role in removing fluid from the lungs, so it should not be eliminated completely.
  • Pain Relievers or Fever Reducers – You may take pain relievers or analgesic medications to help you ease pressure and discomfort, including ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen among others.

You need hospitalization if you:

  • Are over 65 years of age
  • Are confused about places, people or time
  • Have kidney failure or malfunction
  • Have a lower than 90mm Hg of systolic blood pressure or a higher than 60 mm Hg of diastolic pressure
  • Require assistance when breathing
  • Have temperature that is below normal
  • Have the heart rate that is above 100 or below 50

In situations where the symptoms are severe, then you may be placed in ICU until the symptoms reduce considerably. Children may be hospitalized if:

  • They are less than 2 months old.
  • They are excessively sleepy or very lethargic.
  • They experience trouble breathing.
  • They have low blood oxygen level.
  • They are dehydrated.

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