What You Need To Know About Pneumonia And Flu Shots
This article was first published in The Montreal Gazette.
Recently, Oprah got pneumonia. Then she went on Ellen to recommend that everyone get their flu and pneumonia shots. Given that only 42 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 got the pneumonia vaccine in 2016, maybe Oprah can get us over the 80 per cent target.
Sadly, Oprah has not always been a strong advocate for science. She gave a platform to Jenny McCarthy when she started claiming that vaccines caused her sons autism, and she also introduced the world to Dr. Oz.
But as Oprah explained to Ellen, pneumonia is no joke. Around 1.5 million people are hospitalized with pneumonia every year. Around 100,000 die in hospital and a third of people hospitalized with pneumonia die within the year.
Older patients are at greater risk and so are those with pre-existing lung disease. Smoking is also a risk factor for pneumonia, so if you need an extra incentive to stop smoking, this is it. But the main way to prevent pneumonia is with vaccines.
The problem with the pneumonia vaccine is not one of efficacy. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 18 randomized trials found that the pneumonia vaccine led to a substantial reduction in infections. The problem is which pneumonia vaccine to give people.
And if you wont listen to me, at least listen to Oprah.
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How Long Does A Pneumonia Shot Last
- Younger than 2 years old: four shots
- 65 years old or older: two shots, which will last you the rest of your life
- Between 2 and 64 years old: between one and three shots if you have certain immune system disorders or if youre a smoker
What Is The Pneumococcal Vaccine And How Does It Work
- A common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae .
- Pneumococcal infections can cause a range of illness from mild ear and sinus infections to more severe pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.
- Children under 2 years old and adults 65 years or older are among those most at risk of the disease.
- There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumovax® is the type administered by your pharmacist and they can advise you if the vaccine is appropriate for you or they might refer you to your GP if necessary.
- The pharmacy vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal disease in children and adults.
- The Pneumococcal Vaccine encourages your body to produce antibodies against pneumococcal bacteria. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to prevent disease. They protect you from becoming ill, if you get an infection.
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Complications Of Pneumonia Caused By Covid
Because pneumonia causes the alveoli in the lungs to fill with pus and fluid, breathing can be painful and difficult.
Pneumonia can cause serious health complications, including:
Because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it would make sense that having COVID-19 would cause lung complications. As of yet, not enough data are available to support this conclusion.
However, as noted above, research does show that COVID-19 can cause severe illness, including pneumonia that can be fatal. A 2020 study by the CDC found that among a group of people with COVID-19, about 70% had complications from pneumonia. Also, people with COVID-19 were twice as likely to get pneumonia compared to people with the flu.
Regarding long-lasting complications from COVID-19, it is still too soon to say for sure whether “long-haulers” are more likely to have underlying chronic medical conditions.
How Common Is Pneumonia
Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.
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Can I Get The Pneumonia Vaccine If I Currently Have Mild Symptoms
- 4 Jan 2013 by eraichlejr
Hello eraichlejr. Do you mean a flu shot? Regards pledge
No, there’s actually a pneumonia vaccine. And no, I wouldn’t recommend getting any type of vaccine when you’re showing symptoms of the illness.Lisa
I believe that once a person has the flu, the vaccine is ineffective. My excuses, I should have mentioned this in my answer.
Pledge, this is about pneumonia and when it is safe to get that vaccine. Flu shots are effective even after a strain of flu because there are many flus. Each batch is done yearly, often targeting multiple flus. Thought you should know. Karen
Please speak with your doctor, but NO is not reccomended that you have a live vaccine while you have any syptoms of flu or pneumonia…
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
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What To Do If Your Child Is Unwell After The Vaccine
Its possible that your child may feel unwell after receiving a dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. Should this happen, there are ways to help ease their symptoms.
If your child has a fever, try to keep them cool. You can do this by providing cool liquids for them to drink and ensuring theyre not wearing too many layers.
Tenderness, redness or discoloration, and swelling at the site of the shot can be eased by applying a cool compress. To do this, wet a clean washcloth with cool water and place it gently on the affected area.
Symptoms like fever and pain at the site of the shot may be alleviated using over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen . Be sure to use the infant formulation and to carefully follow the dosing instructions on the product packaging.
Prior to being approved for use, the safety and effectiveness of all vaccines must be rigorously evaluated in clinical trials. Lets take a look at some of the research into the effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccines.
A evaluated the effectiveness of the PCV13 vaccine in children. It found that:
- The vaccine effectiveness of PCV13 against the 13 pneumococcal strains included in the vaccine was 86 percent.
- The vaccine effectiveness against pneumococcal disease due to any strain of S.pneumoniae was 60.2 percent.
- The effectiveness of PCV13 didnt differ significantly between children with and without underlying health conditions.
The CDC also notes that more than
You shouldnt get the PCV13 vaccine if youre:
Is Pneumococcal Disease Dangerous
Yes. It can be. Pneumococcal disease is one of the most common causes of vaccine-preventable death in this country. Every year thousands of people need hospital treatment and more than 4,400 people die because of pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal infection is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. It is also a leading cause of meningitis, blood infection and ear infection in children.
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Where Can You Get The Pneumonia Vaccine
Once you know one of the pneumonia vaccines is right for you or your family, you may wonder where to get it. These vaccines are commonly available at medical offices and hospitals, so you might be able to get one where you see your healthcare provider. If they do not have it, many pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens locations, have the vaccine. Your local health department is also a good resource and often gives vaccinations.
How Should I Use This Medicine
This vaccine is for injection into a muscle. It is given by a health care professional.
A copy of Vaccine Information Statements will be given before each vaccination. Read this sheet carefully each time. The sheet may change frequently.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 6 weeks old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
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About The Pneumonia Vaccine
Pneumonia is a common enough illness, but its one that can have potentially devastating reactions. Fortunately, theres a way to prevent the serious side effects of the disease, and possibly prevent someone from getting it to begin with.
The pneumonia vaccine is a safe way to prevent most cases, and effectively lowers the chances of catching the disease entirely. People who do get pneumonia after getting the pneumonia vaccination anyway will have a much milder case of the disease if they do happen to contract it.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
The faster you get treatment, the faster you will get over pneumonia. This is especially true for the very young, for people older than 65, and for anyone with other long-lasting health problems, such as asthma.
911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
- Have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing, is increasing in intensity, or occurs with any other symptoms of a heart attack.
- Have such bad trouble breathing that you are worried you will not have the strength or ability to keep breathing.
- Cough up large amounts of blood.
- Feel that you may faint when you sit up or stand.
if you have:
- A cough that produces blood-tinged or rust-coloured mucus from the lungs.
- A fever with shaking chills.
- Difficult, shallow, fast breathing with shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Frequently brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs and lasts longer than 2 days. Do not confuse mucus from your lungs with mucus running down the back of your throat from your nasal passages . Post-nasal drainage is not a worry.
- Occurs with a fever of 38.3Â°C or higher and brings up yellow or green mucus from the lungs .
- Causes you to vomit a lot.
- Continues longer than 4 weeks.
Also call your doctor if you have new chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing and if you have other symptoms of pneumonia, such as shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
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What To Do If Your Child Is Unwell After Pneumococcal Vaccination
Most common side effects in babies and young children, such as swelling or redness at the injection site, usually go away within a couple of days and you do not need to do anything about them.
If your child develops a fever, keep them cool. Make sure they do not wear too many layers of clothes or blankets, and give them cool drinks.
Read an NHS leaflet about the common side effects of vaccination that may occur in babies and children under the age of 5, and how to treat them.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Flu Jab Pneumococcal Vaccination And Covid
The vaccination campaign for seasonal flu is starting. About 6 million people living in the Netherlands will receive an invitation to get the flu jab in the next few months. This involves people who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the flu. Flu is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the flu virus (also known as influenza.
People aged 69 to 73 years will be offered pneumococcal vaccination this autumn. This group includes all people born from 1 January 1948 through 31 December 1952. Pneumococci are bacteria that can cause you to become seriously ill. The pneumococcal vaccination is often given at the same time as the flu jab.
Since 2020, we have also been dealing with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Most people in the Netherlands have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The symptoms caused by coronavirus disease are similar to the symptoms of flu. COVID-19, flu and pneumococcal disease can all lead to pneumonia. The following overview covers frequently asked questions about COVID-19, the flu and the flu jab, and pneumococcal disease and the pneumococcal vaccination.
No. It is fine to receive these vaccinations within a short time period. Our immune system can respond to several different pathogens or vaccines at the same time. Infants also receive several vaccinations against different diseases within a short time, to protect them properly.
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What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
Is Pneumonia Contagious
Certain types of pneumonia are contagious . Pneumonia caused by bacteria or viruses can be contagious when the disease-carrying organisms are breathed into your lungs. However, not everyone who is exposed to the germs that cause pneumonia will develop it.
Pneumonia caused by fungi are not contagious. The fungi are in soil, which becomes airborne and inhaled, but it is not spread from person to person.
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What Causes Pneumonia
Germs called bacteria or viruses usually cause pneumonia.
Pneumonia usually starts when you breathe the germs into your lungs. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or influenza . These illnesses make it harder for your lungs to fight infection, so it is easier to get pneumonia. Having a long-term, or chronic, disease like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes also makes you more likely to get pneumonia.
How To Stay Safe
Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness just as pneumonia is, it is important to do your best to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19, which could potentially cause severe respiratory complications.
The same precautions you’ve been taking to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic will, of course, keep you safe from developing pneumonia secondary to COVID-19, too. Be diligent about wearing a well-fitting mask, social distancing, and washing your hands.
A few other tips to keep in mind for recovery from pneumonia are to:
- Control your fever with NSAIDs or acetaminophen .
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and to cough up phlegm.
- Avoid taking cough medicines before talking to your healthcare provider first because coughing is one of the ways your body is working to get rid of the pneumonia infection.
- Drink warm beverages like tea or hot water.
- Use a humidifier, and take steamy baths or showers to help open your airway and ease your breathing.
- Stay away from smoke to allow your lungs to heal themselves. If you are a smoker, this would be a good time to think about quitting.
- Get rest. Stay home and take it easy for a while until you feel better and stronger.
These are all things you can do from the safety and comfort of your own home. Taking care of yourself and seeking medical care as needed can help keep you safe from COVID-19.
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The Correct Strain Of Flu Isn’t In The Vaccine
The flu shot provides protection against three or four specific strains, or types, of influenza. These strains are selected by researchers who hope to protect as many people as possible. Because the flu virus mutates, or changes, new vaccines have to be made every flu season.
Despite their best educated guesses, researchers and public health officials may get it wrong. If that year’s illness-causing strains of influenza are not included in the vaccine, people who get the flu shot may still get the flu.
Can You Get Multiple Vaccines At Once
The technical term for getting multiple vaccines together is vaccine coadministration. And the answer to whether this is a good idea depends largely on your age and health status, the vaccines youre considering, how urgent the need is to start building up protection against said threat or threats, and personal preferences, experts say.
As a general rule, there are very few vaccines that cant be coadministered, says L.J. Tan, MS, PhD, the chief policy and partnership officer at the Immunization Action Coalition in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Vaccines commonly administered together include DTaP and Tdap, which protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis , and MMR, which prevents measles, mumps, and rubella.
When vaccines are coadministered, they should go in different locations or anatomical sites, according to Dr. Tan. It can be in the same arm if they are spaced an inch apart, he says. This allows your doctor or pharmacist to identify which vaccine caused a reaction, should one occur.
Here, experts break down which vaccines can be given at the same time and which ones cant. Plus, find out why you still need to wear a mask indoors if youre vaccinated.
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