Pneumonia is a common complication of flu, and can be a serious health risk for older adults.
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by infection from many possible causes: bacteria, viruses and even some kinds of fungi. Typical symptoms are coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and fever. The severity of pneumonia depends on the age and health of the person who has it, as well as the type of organism that causes the disease.
Types of pneumonia: Pneumonia caused by bacterial infection is the most common and most serious type of pneumonia in adults, while viral pneumonia is most common in children. Both types of pneumonia can occur as a complication of influenza infection.
Pneumonia can be serious or fatal in older adults
The elderly are most at risk for serious complications from pneumonia. Elderly or chronically ill people may find it harder to recover, and are more likely to be hospitalized or to die.
Bacterial pneumonia is preventable
Annual flu vaccination can help protect against bacterial pneumonia. Good health habits can also lower your risk of pneumonia and its complications:
- Practice good hygiene, including regular handwashing.
- If you smoke, quit. Limit your contact with cigarette smoke from others as well.
- If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma, work with a healthcare provider to managing it.
If you are age 65 or older, have a chronic illness or a condition that weakens your immune system, talk to a health care provider about pneumonia vaccination.
Getting pneumonia vaccination
You can get a pneumonia vaccination at a county health department or from a healthcare provider. Medicare or Medicaid offsets the cost of pneumonia vaccination.