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Who Needs A Pneumonia Vaccine?

Who Needs A Pneumonia Vaccine?

Pneumonia VaccinePneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. Often the inflammation causes the air sacs to fill with fluid making breathing difficult. Viruses, bacteria, or fungi can all cause pneumonia. Symptoms often include:

  • a cough with phlegm or pus
  • fever
  • chills
  • sharp pain in the chest
  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • malaise
  • clammy skin, or sweating

Antibiotics can treat many forms of pneumonia. Some forms of pneumonia can be prevented by vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) some kinds of pneumonia, not all, can be prevented with vaccines. A pneumonia vaccine does not prevent all cases of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia, for example, currently has no vaccine and is preventable with good hygiene habits. However,the vaccine can lower your chance of catching the disease. It can also decrease the severity of symptoms if you are unfortunate enough to catch the disease.

Who does need the pneumonia vaccine?

Not everybody needs to get a pneumonia vaccine. If you’re a healthy adult between ages 18 and 64, you can skip this vaccine.

People age 65 and over

As we age our immune systems don’t work as well as they once did. That’s why everyone over the age 65 should receive a pneumonia vaccine.

People with weak immune systems

Some illnesses and procedures weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to other diseases. People with the following chronic illnesses are susceptible to pneumonia and need the pneumonia vaccine:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • HIV
  • AIDS

The same goes for anyone who has recently had chemotherapy or had an organ transplant.


If you smoked for many years, you’ve done definite damage to your lungs. You may have damaged the little hair like structures called cilia that help your lung filter out germs. If you’re a smoker, you’re susceptible to pneumonia and need to consider the vaccination. Fortunately, quitting smoking can actually help you prevent pneumonia.

Heavy drinkers

If you drink every day, you might notice that you are sick with more colds, flus or other illnesses than people who don’t drink. Alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections. If you drink often, you need to consider a pneumonia vaccine.

People getting over surgery or recovering from a severe illness

If you have been in the ICU (intensive care unit) and needed a ventilator to help you breathe, you are at risk of pneumonia. The same goes for those healing from surgery or serious injury.

Is there a pneumonia season?

Contrary to popular belief, pneumonia doesn’t have a season. Not in the same way we have flu season anyway. If your medical care professional suggests a pneumonia vaccine, you can get them anytime of the year.

Now that we’ve mentioned the flu…flu often becomes pneumonia. In fact, about one-third of all pneumonia cases in this country are caused by respiratory viruses, most commonly influenza.

If it’s flu season, you can even get a pneumonia vaccine at the same time that you get a flu vaccine, as long as you receive each shot in a different arm.

If you are in need of a flu vaccine or a pneumonia vaccine, give us at call at 662-282-4226. We’d be happy to make you an appointment.

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