Pneumonia is a disease which causes lung inflammation. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria, and even some lesser known microorganisms. Pneumonia affects all age groups, but babies and the elderly are at the highest risk. Anyone with a compromised immune system is particularly susceptible to contracting pneumonia. Smokers and asthma patients are much more likely to develop pneumonia than healthy individuals.
It affects 450 million people worldwide annually. Approximately 4 million deaths occur every year due to pneumonia. The strep bacteria, flu viruses, and certain respiratory viruses commonly lead to secondary pneumonia infections. In third world countries pneumonia is the leading cause of death in the chronically ill, infants and the elderly. With treatment, bacterial pneumonia can be stabilized in 3 to 6 days. By 4 weeks after treatment, most patients are clear of symptoms. 10% of those who are hospitalized due to pneumonia die.
People who have pneumonia usually have a persistent congested or productive cough, shaking chills, fever, mild respiratory distress, chest pain and an increased respiratory rate. In the elderly confusion can be a sign of pneumonia. As a fever may be non-existent in those with a severe illness such as malnutrition, a fever may not always be an indication of an infection. In babies less than two months old, there may not be a cough present to indicate an illness. More severe symptoms of pneumonia can include waning consciousness, bloody sputum, blue skin, persistent vomiting and extreme body temperature fluctuations. Bacterial and viral pneumonia cause the same symptoms.
Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia outside of hospital settings. Viral pneumonia is responsible for about one third of all cases. Pneumonia is not a communicable disease. However, the viruses that lead to pneumonia are communicable. In order to prevent developing pneumonia, get vaccinated annually for influenza, avoid being in contact with sick individuals, don’t smoke, use proper hygiene and be sure that you maintain a proper diet and exercise regime. Vaccinations for pneumonia are an excellent way to combat certain viruses and bacteria from developing into secondary pneumonia infections.
Scientific evidence has shown that vaccinating against bacterial pneumonia is effective. other vaccines which may help prevent pneumonia include varicella, measles and pertussis. Smoking appears to be the biggest factor for contracting pneumonia in healthy adults. Properly and expediently treating illnesses that can lead to developing a lung infection is one of the best ways to prevent pneumonia. If you feel ill with a respiratory illness, go to the doctor and get treatment.
Pneumonia is a byproduct of other diseases, so it is very important that your vaccinations are up to date. If you plan on traveling abroad, it is imperative that you are inoculated against the leading causes of pneumonia. While the disease is treatable, there is a risk of death. Do not travel without your booster shots.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.
When Travelling from New York, Do Not Forget About Pneumonia Vaccine
To learn more about booster shots and initial vaccinations that can help prevent pneumonia, make an appointment with a doctor specializing in travel medicine. Your doctor can teach you about how you can avoid illnesses and injuries during your travels. To make an appointment with our travel doctor, please contact us today.