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Which Form Of Pneumonia Can Be Prevented Through Vaccination

What To Think About

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Medicines, such as penicillin, used to work well for the treatment of pneumonia and meningitis. These diseases have recently become resistant to these medicines. For this reason it is important to try to prevent the infections by having the PCV or PPV vaccine.

PCV can prevent some ear infections. But ear infections have many causes and PCV only works to prevent some of them. Your child may still have ear infections, even after getting a PCV shot.

PPV has not been studied in pregnant women. There is no evidence that the vaccine is harmful to either the mother or the baby. Pregnant women should talk with a doctor about getting the medicine. Women who are at high risk of pneumococcal disease should have the shot before becoming pregnant, if possible.

Treatment Of Viral Infections

There are not as many choices for treating viral pneumonia. Oseltamivir , zanamivir , and peramivir have been the recommended drugs for influenza A or B infections, but some strains of influenza A are resistant to them. Generally, the use of these drugs is only recommended if they can be started in the first 48 hours of symptoms. Taken early, these medications may be effective in reducing the severity and duration of illness. However, treatment initiated even after 48 hours may benefit children with severe disease.

Intravenous immunoglobulins may be used in immunodeficient children who develop some viral pneumonias, as they have been shown to improve outcomes.

People with viral pneumonias are at risk for what are called “superinfections,” which generally refers to a secondary bacterial infection, usually caused by S pneumoniae, S aureus, or H influenzae. Doctors most commonly recommend treatment with amoxicillin-clavulanate, cefpodoxime, ceftriaxone, cefuroxime, or a newer fluoroquinolone if these secondary infections occur.

People with pneumonia caused by varicella-zoster and herpes simplex viruses are usually admitted to the hospital and treated with intravenous acyclovir for 7 days.

No antiviral drugs have been proven effective yet in adults with RSV, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, metapneumovirus, coronaviruses, or hantavirus. Treatment is largely supportive, with people receiving oxygen and ventilator therapy as needed.

Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine

Like most vaccines, the childhood and adult versions of the pneumococcal vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects.

These include:

  • redness where the injection was given
  • hardness or swelling where the injection was given

There are no serious side effects listed for either the childhood or adult versions of the vaccine, apart from an extremely rare risk of a severe allergic reaction .

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What If It Is Not Clear What A Person’s Vaccination History Is

When indicated, vaccines should be administered to patients with unknown vaccination status. All residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should have their vaccination status assessed and documented.

How long must a person wait to receive other vaccinations?

Inactivated influenza vaccine and tetanusvaccines may be given at the same time as or at any time before or after a dose of pneumococcus vaccine. There are no requirements to wait between the doses of these or any other inactivated vaccines.

Vaccination of children recommended

In July 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC jointly recommended childhood pneumococcal immunization, since pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the United States.

“The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13 or Prevnar 13, is currently recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age, all adults 65 years or older, and persons 6 through 64 years of age with certain medical conditions,” according to the 2014 AAP/CDC guidelines. “Pneumovax is a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that is currently recommended for use in all adults 65 years of age or older and for persons who are 2 years and older and at high risk for pneumococcal disease . PPSV23 is also recommended for use in adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.”

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Prevnar 13 Vaccine

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Officer administers the PCV vaccine to an infant at a community health center in Ponorogo, November 3, 2021.

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Protect Your Health With These Healthy Living Practices

Avoid people who are sick. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible to keep from getting them sick.

You can also help prevent respiratory infections by:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into your elbow or sleeve
  • Limiting contact with cigarette smoke or quitting smoking
  • Taking good care of medical conditions

Choosing The Right Antibiotic

Dozens of antibiotics are available for treating pneumonia, but selecting the best drug is sometimes difficult. People with pneumonia need an antibiotic that is effective against the organism causing the disease. When the organism is unknown, “empiric therapy” is given, meaning the doctor chooses which antibiotic is likely to work based on factors such as the person’s age, health, and severity of the illness.

In adults, the choice of antibiotic therapy depends on the severity of infection and site of care. In all cases, the more quickly antibiotic therapy is started once the diagnosis is made, the better the outcomes. In most cases, the organism causing the pneumonia will not be known before antibiotic therapy is started, so the doctor must choose an antibiotic regimen based on history and symptoms. Later, the therapy may be altered when more information becomes available. To determine the appropriate antibiotic, the doctor must first answer a number of questions:

Once an antibiotic has been chosen, there are still difficulties:

  • Individuals respond differently to the same antibiotic, depending on their age, health, size, and other factors.
  • People can be allergic to certain antibiotics, thus requiring alternatives.
  • People may have strains of bacteria that are resistant to certain antibiotics.

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Inflammation In The Lungs

Pneumonia is inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs that is most often caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, or other organisms. Occasionally, inhaled chemicals other non-infectious factors can cause lung inflammation . Age groups at the extremes, that is the very young and old, are more vulnerable to pneumonia. Healthy adults can usually fight off pneumonia caused by infections. However, it is easier for bacteria to grow in the lungs of people who are sick and have a weakened immune system, like those who are recovering from influenza or an upper respiratory illness. Pneumonia is the 6th leading cause of death for Americans age 65 years and older. Worldwide, pneumonia is a leading cause of death in children under age 5 years.

When air is inhaled through the nose or mouth, it travels down the trachea to the left bronchus and right bronchus, where it first enters the lungs. From the bronchus, air goes through the smaller bronchi, into the even smaller bronchioles, and lastly into the alveoli.

Flu And Pneumonia Prevention

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Flu and pneumonia pose special problems for heart patients.

The flu can leave most people sick for a few days, but it can be a much more serious ordeal if you have heart disease or have had a stroke.

In fact, the flu can cause complications, including bacterial pneumonia, or the worsening of chronic heart problems.

Pneumonia is a lung infection that prevents your lungs from getting enough oxygen into the blood, creating a strain on the heart. It can also increase risks for stroke patients.

Its more stress on your heart. It has to work harder to pump blood through your lungs, said Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair and professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a past president of the American Heart Association.

Because of potential complications, which can sometimes lead to death when a patient is already sick, it becomes even more important to avoid the flu if you have heart disease and as you get older, Dr. Arnett said.

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Favorite Orgs That Can Help Fight Pneumonia

Those over age 65 have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger adults. They may be especially susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia, spread among large populations of elderly people in settings such as assisted living facilities. This organization, devoted to finding the best products and services for seniors, publishes advice on how older adults should handle prevention and care.

Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia. Several national healthcare organizations and the CDC are collaborating in an effort called United Against the Flu to stress the importance of getting immunized. The groups website supplies resources and details on the vaccination.

How Much Will It Cost

At this time, Prevnar 20s list price hasnt been announced. However, this vaccine will likely be common for older adults, and its expected that Medicare will cover the bill. Pneumococcal vaccines are a cost-free benefit of Medicare Part B, and people with original Medicare or Medicare Advantage can receive covered pneumococcal vaccines with specific providers.

If you have Medicaid, check with your state Medicaid agency to see which vaccines are offered. Many Medicaid plans pay for some vaccines, but specific coverage varies.

All Health Insurance Marketplace plans and many private plans cover pneumococcal vaccines when provided by an in-network provider, but costs can vary depending on the specific insurance plan.

For people without insurance or adequate coverage, financial assistance and coupon programs may be available. Check back with GoodRx to find more ways to save and make your vaccinations more affordable.

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Defining Pneumonia By Origin Of Infection

Health care providers often classify pneumonia based on where the disease is contracted. This helps predict which organisms are most likely responsible for the illness and, therefore, which treatment is most likely to be effective.

Community-Acquired Pneumonia

People with this type of pneumonia contracted the infection outside of a hospital setting. It is one of the most common infectious diseases. It often follows a viral respiratory infection, such as the flu.

One of the most common causes of bacterial CAP is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other causes include Haemophilus influenza , Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydia pneumoniae .

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Common symptoms of pneumonia include3

  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • increased breathing rate

When a patient presents with these symptoms, the next step is to examine the lungs with a stethoscope. With pneumonia, decreased breath sounds, wheezing, or crackles on listening to the lungs, are all indications that can help point towards a diagnosis. The next step is to order a radiograph or X-ray if pneumonia is suspected.

The radiograph still remains the reference standard for a medical diagnosis of pneumonia, and also helps to differentiate between bacterial and viral pneumonia. However, a combination of clinical symptoms, exam findings, and imaging is the best way to uncover the most likely culprit.3,4

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The Different Types Of Pneumococcal Vaccine

The type of pneumococcal vaccine you’re given depends on your age and health. There are 2 types.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is used to vaccinate children under 2 years old as part of the NHS vaccination schedule. It’s known by the brand name Prevenar 13.

Children at risk of pneumococcal infections can have the PPV vaccine from the age of 2 years onwards. The PPV vaccine is not very effective in children under the age of 2.

Know The Facts About The Pneumonia Vaccine

Just as with a flu shot, and now the COVID-19 vaccines, some people believe that getting a pneumococcal vaccine will cause them to come down with the disease or experience long-term side effects.

This is absolutely not true, Dr. Suri says.

Not only will the pneumococcal vaccine help reduce the risk of contracting certain types of bacterial pneumonia, it also guards against serious consequences resulting from the flu and severe infections, such as .

For young children, older adults, smokers and those with other risk factors, the vaccine is a healthy choice to make.

I cant see any reason to avoid this vaccine and every reason to get it, she says.

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Integrated Global Action Plan For The Prevention And Control Of Pneumonia And Diarrhea

Despite the availability of effective cost-effective interventions to end preventable childhood deaths from diarrhea and pneumonia, access is low in many LMICs.57 There are many barriers to the implementation and scale-up of interventions to end preventable deaths in children from pneumonia and diarrhea .58,59 Following a series of regional and country workshops and subsequent follow-up and feedback from health care workers, the WHO conceptualized a âprotect, prevent, and treatâ framework to reduce morbidity and mortality from pneumonia and diarrhea in LMICs.59 In 2013, the WHO and The United Nations Childrenâs Fund launched the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea with a goal to eliminate child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025.60 Community-based delivery platforms have been proposed to reach the poorest, hard to reach populations and reduce health care inequalities.16

Aspiration Pneumonia And Anaerobic Bacteria

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The mouth contains a mixture of bacteria that is normally harmless. However, if this mixture reaches the lungs, it can cause a serious condition called aspiration pneumonia. This may happen after a head injury or general anesthesia, or when a person takes drugs or alcohol. In such cases, the gag reflex does not work as well as it should, so bacteria can enter the airways. Unlike other organisms that are inhaled, some of the bacteria that cause aspiration pneumonia do not need oxygen to live. These bacteria are called anaerobic bacteria.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia

Quite often, people with pneumonia have previously had cold or flu symptoms for a few days or weeks that have got worse, not better.

The most common symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • cough can be dry or may produce thick mucus
  • fever , sweating and shivering though in older people it can cause lower than normal body temperature
  • difficulty breathing, or rapid breathing or shortness of breath. In children, the ribs or the skin under the neck can suck in, or babies may bob their heads while breathing
  • feeling generally tired and unwell
  • loss of appetite

What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia In A Child

Symptoms may be a bit different for each child. They may also depend on what is causing the pneumonia. Cases of bacterial pneumonia tend to happen suddenly with these symptoms:

  • Cough that produces mucus

  • Tiredness

  • Fever

Early symptoms of viral pneumonia are the same as those of bacterial pneumonia. But with viral pneumonia, the breathing problems happen slowly. Your child may wheeze and the cough may get worse. Viral pneumonia may make a child more at risk for bacterial pneumonia.

In addition to the symptoms listed above, your child may have:

  • Chills

  • Headache

  • Fussiness

The symptoms of pneumonia may look like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

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Which Children Are At Risk For Pneumonia

A child is more likely to get pneumonia if he or she has:

  • Weak immune system, such as from cancer

  • Ongoing health problem, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis

  • Problems with the lungs or airways

In addition, children younger than 1 year old are at risk if they are around secondhand tobacco smoke. This is especially true if their mother smokes.

What You Should Know About Pneumonia

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Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that typically stems from several kinds of germs, most often bacteria and viruses.

Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. They include:

  • Fever.
  • Chest pain.
  • Loss of appetite.

Early detection is often challenging because many people with these symptoms assume they have a cold or the flu.

Its important to also note that the vaccine helps protect against some but not all bacterial pneumonia.

There are dozens of different types of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Suri. The vaccine will certainly reduce your risk of the most common bacterial pneumonia.

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Vaccines Against Influenza Virus

Despite the large burden of respiratory illness due to influenza virus infection among young children, and the longstanding availability of the influenza vaccine in high income countries, vaccines against influenza have not been widely implemented in any LMICs. The biggest reason is likely the cost and logistical resources needed to implement yearly immunizations. Inactivated influenza vaccines are produced to match influenza strains that circulate at the end of the last season. Efficacy is dependent on degree of matching to actual circulating strains, and studies evaluating IIVs in children are limited. In a recent large multi-country RCT, a quadrivalent IIV had an efficacy of 60%.40 On the other hand, the single-dose live attenuated influenza vaccine holds promise to be an effective and less costly option for LMICs. In contrast to IIVs, a large number of RCTs have shown that LAIVs are effective in preventing influenza illness in young children.41 Furthermore, there is evidence that LAIVs may have activity against mismatched strains, and possibly provide longer duration of protection than inactivated influenza vaccines. A cost-effectiveness analysis conducted in Thailand showed that vaccination with LAIV to be highly cost-effective, more than for IIV vaccine.42 Current research efforts are focused on the feasibility of influenza vaccine implementation,43 as well as the protection of infants through vaccination during pregnancy.44

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