Every year, nearly one million Americans are hospitalized by pneumonia—a dangerous infection of the lungs that impairs breathing. According to CDC estimates, about 50,000 of those individuals died due to the illness. Given the impact of this potentially life-threatening disease, it’s important for all people—particularly those who are older, infants, or have compromised immune systems—to take steps to prevent pneumonia. In honor of World Pneumonia Day this November 12th, here are a few preventive care tips to defend against this respiratory illness.
Effective Ways to Reduce Pneumonia Risk
Many of the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia can be eliminated through safe hygiene practices. Some of the best ways to keep clean include frequently washing your hands with soap and water, disinfecting commonly used household surfaces, and maintaining oral hygiene. If you’re sick, you can stop germs from spreading by coughing and sneezing into your elbow or into a tissue.
From the flu to the chickenpox, there are many illnesses that can increase a person’s risk of developing pneumonia. Fortunately, immunization can provide preventive care against most of these health problems. If you’re a parent, make sure your child is up-to-date on all their vaccines—particularly those that protect against measles, chickenpox, and pertussis. The pneumococcal and annual flu vaccines are also recommended for patients of any age.
In addition to many other respiratory illnesses, smoking cigarettes is associated with a higher risk of developing pneumonia. In fact, research suggests that individuals who smoke are also more likely to die from the disease. If you smoke cigarettes, finding a way to quit will help protect your lungs and provide many other preventive care benefits.
Respond to Symptoms Early
If left untreated, pneumonia can become progressively worse and more difficult to treat. As such, you should visit a doctor or pulmonology specialist for a diagnosis and treatment as soon as you notice potential signs of pneumonia. Common signs of the disease include persistent coughing, excessive mucus production, fever, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, and sharp chest pain.
If you think you’ve developed pneumonia or are concerned about your risk, Santiam Hospital offers comprehensive medical services to help defend your health. Serving families in the Mid-Willamette Valley, this hospital is equipped to provide everything from preventive care to emergency room treatment. And thanks to their pulmonology department, this provider can deliver specialized care to treat pneumonia and other lung issues. Visit this Stayton, OR hospital online to learn more about their resources or call (503) 769-2175 to schedule an appointment with a friendly doctor.