According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 million US citizens seek hospital care for pneumonia every year, 50,000 of which will ultimately die. It is extremely important that you take the precautionary steps to lower your risk of being a part of that fatal statistic.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is the inflammation of your lungs caused by a bacterial or viral infection. During pneumonia, your air sacs fill with fluids, such as pus, and become solid. It drastically hampers your ability to breath and worsens your immune symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms of Pneumonia
Some of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Excessive coughing, often with greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus
- Green or yellow sputum
- Pain in the chest
- Confusion (often in elderly people)
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pains
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Blue lips and nails (due to a lack of oxygen in the blood)
People Likely to Get Pneumonia
People most likely to get pneumonia are:
- Adults 65 years or older
- Children younger than 5 years old
- People who have chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
- People who smoke cigarettes
However, active young adults and middle age adults could also be at risk.
How to Prevent Pneumonia
1. Get Vaccinated
Vaccines can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia. The vaccines the CDC recommends getting are:
- Haemophilus InfluenzaeType B (Hib)
- Influenza (flu)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
2. Wash Your Hands Regularly
To help prevent the spread of bacteria and other harmful germs, it is best for you to wash your hands as frequently as you can. This is especially true after using the bathroom, being in public places, and before you eat.
3. Practice Good Dental Hygiene
In addition to practicing good hygiene, it’s imperative that you take care of your teeth, too! Pneumonia infections can occur because of infected teeth. Clean your teeth and schedule regular dentist visits.
4. Eat Healthy, Exercise, and Rest
Treating your body right does wonders in all areas of your health. By eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and getting the proper amount of rest, your immune system will be able to fire on all cylinders.
5. Avoid Smoking
It’s important to reinforce the fact that smoking is not good for your lungs. Keep your lungs as healthy as possible to reduce the risk of you getting pneumonia.
Ready to quit smoking? Learn more about how you can get your lungs healthy again.
Pneumonia affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, most of which are elderly adults and young children.
While it can be fatal, it can also can be treated – and prevented! Take the steps listed above to lower your risk of getting pneumonia to ensure you can continue to live actively.
Have additional questions regarding your lung health? Contact us today.