How to Protect Yourself from Pneumonia During the Winter
During the winter, many medical facilities see an increase in people with pneumonia. The illness is an infection in your lungs that is caused by bacteria or a virus. The air sacs in your lungs become inflated with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe. It’s important to do everything possible to protect yourself and your family during the winter months.
Here are a few ways to reduce your risk of developing pneumonia.
There are many vaccinations you can receive that will help with preventing pneumonia.
- First, and the most obvious, is the flu vaccine. This vaccine changes annually depending on what the CDC believes will be the most prevalent influenza virus spread during the winter months. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, so taking this simple step helps in reducing your risk.
- Children under 5 years old and adults over 65 should get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common form of bacterial pneumonia. This vaccine helps prevent and mitigate the symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia. If you have an underlying health condition, you should also receive this vaccine. Speak with a healthcare provider to learn if the vaccine is right for you.
- Finally, there are a number of vaccines that prevent viruses and bacteria that could lead to pneumonia, such as whooping cough, chicken pox and measles. It is a good idea to occasionally speak with your doctor to check if you and your children are up to date with their shots.
Midwest Express Clinic does not provide pneumococcal or other childhood vaccines.
Cigarettes, vapes, anything that burns and is inhaled should not be used. Tobacco specifically can lower your lungs’ ability to fight off infections, especially viruses that lead to pneumonia. In fact, smokers are a high-risk group who are encouraged to get the pneumococcal vaccine.
If you have trouble quitting cold turkey, at least lowering the amount you smoke per week can be beneficial in preventing pneumonia.
Try to stay away from alcohol during the winter
Many people enjoy eggnog or spiked hot cider during the winter. However, abusing alcohol reduces your immune system’s ability to fight against infections. Heavy drinking has been shown to increase the risk for pneumonia and its complications. At the very least, stop at two drinks per day.
Pneumonia is a very serious illness, but thankfully, it is also a very preventable one. The most important thing you can do is receive the necessary vaccinations as recommended by your healthcare provider. After that, living a healthy lifestyle can help tremendously in preventing pneumonia, including not smoking and not abusing alcohol.
If you have questions regarding vaccinations or your risk of contracting pneumonia, check in online at your closest Midwest Express Clinic location and speak with a provider today.