To help prevent pneumonia:
May. 21, 2013
- Get a seasonal flu shot. The influenza virus can be a direct cause of viral pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is also a common complication of the flu. A yearly flu shot provides significant protection.
- Get a pneumonia vaccination. Doctors recommend a one-time vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria (pneumococcus) for everyone older than age 65, as well as for people of any age residing in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and for smokers. The vaccine is especially recommended for anyone at high risk of pneumococcal pneumonia. Some doctors recommend a booster shot five years after the first dose.
- Have your child vaccinated. Doctors recommend a different pneumonia vaccine for all children younger than age 2 and for children ages 2 to 5 years who are at particular risk of pneumococcal disease. Children who attend a group day care center should also get the vaccine. Doctors also recommend seasonal flu shots for children older than six months.
- Practice good hygiene. To protect yourself against ordinary respiratory infections that sometimes lead to pneumonia, wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Don't smoke. Smoking damages your lungs' natural defenses against respiratory infections.
- Stay rested and fit. Proper rest, a healthy diet and moderate exercise can help keep your immune system strong.
- Set an example. Stay home when you're sick. When you're in public and have a cold, catch your coughs and sneezes in the inner crook of your elbow.
- Pneumonia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.1.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/. Accessed April 17, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What diagnostic evaluation should be done in an outpatient with suspected community acquired pneumonia? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9112783. Accessed April. 18, 2013.
- Schauner S, et al. Community-acquired pneumonia in children: A look at the IDSA guidelines. The Journal of Family Practice. 2013;62:9. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Attridge RT, et al. Health care-associated pneumonia: An evidence-based review. The American Journal of Medicine. 2011;124:689. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Hunter JD. Ventilator associated pneumonia. BMJ. 2012;344:e3325. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Dockrell DH, et al. Pneumococcal pneumonia: Mechanisms of infection and resolution. Chest. 2012;142:482. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Reynolds RH, et al. Pneumonia in the immunocompetent patient. The British Journal of Radiology. 2010;83:998. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 23, 2013.
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