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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

 

Get Recommended Vaccines: Learn about the Pneumonia Vaccine

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Doctor reviews patient chart during inpatient visit.

Have you had all your recommended screenings and immunizations? Learn more about the pneumonia shot.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Did you know that people of any age can get pneumonia?  Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs usually caused by a bacteria or virus.  These germs often live in your mouth, nose and in the environment.  They can cause pneumonia if they spread to your lungs. 

Signs of pneumonia can include coughing, fever, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest pain.  It is more than a bad cold!  It can be deadly.

Some people are at higher risk.  People with long-term health problems like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, alcoholism, and some kinds of cancer are at higher risk.  So are smokers or people who often breathe second hand smoke.

You can lower your pneumonia risk by:

  • Washing your hands often. 
  • Cleaning surfaces that are often touched (like doorknobs and countertops).  
  • Using a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.  
  • Brushing your teeth often!  Taking care of your teeth and gums lowers the bacteria in your mouth, which could cause pneumonia if spread to your lungs. 
  • Not smoking.  Smoking increases pneumonia risk at any age! 
  • Getting a pneumonia shot.  For most adults, it is a one-time shot.  It is not the same as the Flu shot. 

Who should get the pneumonia shot?

  • All adults age 65 and older.
  • Anyone who has a long-term health problem such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or other medical conditions.  Talk with your primary care provider to see if you need the pneumonia shot.
  • Any adult 19 - 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma.
  • Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Where to get the pneumonia shot?

  • Ask your Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) if you need the pneumonia shot during your next VA appointment. 
  • If you are an inpatient at VA, ask your nurse if you need the pneumonia shot.

Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare can receive a FREE pneumonia shot! For more information about the pneumonia shot, talk with your VA Primary Care Provider.

Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program.