Pneumonia week 

 The Lung Foundation Australia  Pneumonia Awareness Week runs from Sunday 17 May to Sunday May 24.  With winter approaching it’s a timely opportunity to talk more about the dangers pneumonia poses to the elderly, people with respiratory disease and children under the age of 5. 

What is Pneumonia ?

Pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection of the lungs.  Air sacs within the lungs called Alveoli can fill  with fluid which may become solid, it can affect both lungs or just one. Coughing up coloured mucus, fever, shaking chills and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms of pneumonia. It’s quite common for people to contract pneumonia after a cold or a bout of the flu.

By the numbers

Globally it’s estimated that there are 156 million new cases of pneumonia each year with 1.6 million children under the age of 5 dying from this infection each year. We naturally think  pneumonia is a bigger threat to the elderly and sufferers of respiratory disease, and in developed country’s this is mostly true. The high death rate in children is predominantly from developing countries.In Australia pneumonia was responsible for 1.6% of registered deaths in 2011, which is why it’s so important to be vigilant in educating the public of the dangers of pneumonia.

Prevention is the key

So what can we do to avoid contracting  pneumonia ?  As I have chronic lung disease I am  pedantic about getting any type of lung infection.
One of the best measures we can take is to vaccinate against it.  Pneumonia vaccinations are recommended every 5 years. Other steps to prevent pneumonia which I have found successful  include a yearly flu vaccination, building your immune system through eating healthy foods, exercise and a daily dose of zinc powder. While there are still studies investigating how you can boost your immune system, I have personally found these steps have worked well.

How well does vaccination work ?

I think a good case study of how well the pneumonia  vaccination works was highlighted in a recent trip my wife and I had to the United States. The last week of our trip we both started to feel sick. . As the week went on my wife suffered terribly with fever, coughing up mucus, pain around her lungs, exhaustion and feeling very unwell. My symptoms were just about identical but nowhere near the same extent to what she was going through. On our return to Australia my wife was diagnosed with viral pneumonia and was still sick for many weeks. My Doctor diagnosed me with a very mild dose of viral pneumonia however my recovery was quick and did not result in any days off work.

I had my pneumonia vaccine two years ago , my wife has not been vaccinated.  Coincidence  or not,  for me our experience has left me in no doubt  having a pneumonia vaccination is a great step in the defence against contracting this debilitating lung infection.

0 responses to “Pneumonia Awareness

  1. I had double pneumonia and sepsis in March of this year, 2015. I was in hospital for 5 days and rehab with physical therapy for 13 days. It was a miserable time. I also have stage IV COPD, mainly emphysema with an asthma component. I had my pneumonia shot and never miss my flu shot. I am always very cognizant of germs out there and use wipes etc. My pulmo said it was community acquired so I got it outside my home. Scary stuff and I am now terrified of getting it again, kinda makes you scared to go anywhere.
    Fay Beech

  2. My husband passed away August 3rd 2015 from pneumonia and sepsis. We just had a baby and this is the hardest thing I have ever been through my husband was only 32 years old. I am consistently trying to bring pneumonia to light to friend, family and people I meet in public this is such a hard thing to cope with but this is definitely a life lesson about getting vaccines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *