Nobody looks forward to flu season, especially with the threat of COVID-19. Flu is a common cause of pneumonia, so preventing flu is a good way to ward off pneumonia. In the U.S., flu (commonly known as influenza) season is prevalent in the fall and winter. Though influenza viruses circulate the whole year, they peak between December and February
Pneumonia is more common than you might think. It causes more than a million hospitalizations and over 50,000 deaths each year. Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of your lungs, causing inflammation and fluid build-up. It may also trigger problems with oxygen exchange.
Unlike a cold, flu starts suddenly. The symptoms can start in as little as 30 minutes. Its indicators include a fever (though not everyone will get a fever) that can last three to four days, aches, chills, fatigue, chest discomfort, a hacking cough, headaches fatigue, and sometimes a stuffy nose and sore throat. Flu can persist for up to two weeks.
Many folks wonder if there’s a way to reduce their risk of getting pneumonia. The answer is yes! The best bet is to get a flu shot early in the season so your body can build an immunity to the virus. It takes about two weeks for the shot to become effective. If you don’t get one early, getting one later is still helpful.
People 65 and older should get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Smokers are in a high-risk group and are encouraged to get the pneumococcal vaccine. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine. Your doctor at North Jersey Pulmonary Associates will tell you if one is right for you.
Several other vaccines can prevent bacterial and viral infections that may lead to pneumonia, including pertussis (whooping cough), chicken pox and measles. Tell your NJPA doctor if you’re up to date on your vaccines, and ask him to determine if any of these vaccines would be appropriate for you.
Washing your hands frequently—especially after blowing your nose, going to the bathroom, diapering, and before eating or preparing foods—is also quite helpful.
Because pneumonia often follows respiratory infections, be aware of any symptoms that linger more than a few days. A healthy diet, enough sleep, regular exercise and other good lifestyle choices can help you not get sick from viruses and respiratory illnesses.
North Jersey Pulmonary Associates in Totowa, NJ offers the highest-quality care and compassion when treating you for flu or any other respiratory concern.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
October 13, 2020