Pneumonia Can Be Prevented — Vaccines Can Help

From the Harnett County Department of Public Health

Each year in the United States, about 1 million people have to seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia, and about 50,000 people die from the disease.

Pneumonia can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Pneumococcal disease is common in young children, but older adults are at greatest risk of serious pneumococcal infections. There are vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease in children and adults according to public health officials with the Harnett County Health Department.

Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. The viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia usually spread in small droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air. If you are nearby, you can breathe in these droplets or they can land in your nose or mouth. You can also pick up germs by shaking hands or touching surfaces, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Common signs of pneumonia can include cough, fever and trouble breathing.

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at greater risk for disease than others.

Being a certain age or having some medical conditions can put you at increased risk for pneumococcal disease, this includes, adults 65 years or older, children younger than 5 years old, people who have underlying medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes or heart disease) and people who smoke cigarettes.

The good news is pneumonia infections can often be prevented and can usually be treated. The best way to prevent pneumococcal disease is by getting vaccinated.

There are vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease in children and adults. The Health Department has vaccine available. For more information or to make an appointment, call the Health Department at (910) 8937550.

Vaccines can help protect against some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia. The best way to prevent pneumococcal disease is to get the vaccine(s).

Residents are encouraged to utilize “Good Health Habits” by staying away from people who are sick, remember to wash your hands often with soap and water and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This can help prevent pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

Pneumonia is serious, but taking preventive steps, and staying up-to-date on your vaccinations can help keep you and your family safe.

For More Information

For more information, contact your health care provider or log onto the Health Department’s website located at www. harnett.org/health

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