Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a virus or bacteria. It normally occurs with a cold or flu. It is more common for those with asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and weak immune systems.
Symptoms vary including chest pain and tightness, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, nausea, chills, fever, cough (with mucus) and sore throat. For most people, pneumonia will clear up within 2-3 weeks. Sometimes, those who are older or have weaker immune systems will need hospital treatment.
The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for children and adults. Most children get the vaccine during their routine shots. Although this does not fully protect you from getting pneumonia, you may not get as sick with it. The flu is also common after having pneumonia, so always ask your physician about the flu shot. Adults should have a vaccination over 50 years old.
If you are diagnosed with pneumonia make sure to do the following:
- Finish all medications prescribed
- Drink extra fluids
- Get lots of rest
- Stop smoking
To stay healthy and avoid getting sick, try these:
- Avoid those with colds, chicken pox and measles.
- Always do your nasal washes, especially when feeling ill.
- Wash hands thoroughly
- Bleach/wash all toys
- Wash sheets, towels, blankets, etc.
If you get sick and feel you may be coming down with pneumonia, contact your physician. They may order a chest x-ray and blood work. If it is caused by bacteria, they may prescribe antibiotics.