Pneumonia is a serious lung disease which is characterized by inflammation of lungs. It may be caused due to bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites, etc. Most incidences of pneumonia are bacterial in nature. Sometimes, a physical or chemical injury may also trigger this condition. It is estimated that there are half a million cases of pneumonia each year. About 50,000 of them succumb to the disease. Half of the victims of pneumonia belong to the age group of 65 and above and at least 50% of these people could survive if they are vaccinated against the disease. Although, pneumonia vaccines do not provide you protection against the entire spectrum of pneumonia, it certainly protects you from pneumococcal disease, which is the most serious form of pneumonia.
Who Should Get a Pneumonia Vaccine
People with a compromised immune system are most susceptible to catch all sorts of infections. These people are also at a risk of developing pneumococcal disease. A pneumonia vaccine provides protection to these people against most variants of pneumonia infection. Since this vaccine does not consist a live culture, it can be safely administered even for people with compromised immune systems. Children suffering from diseases such as leukemia, kidney failure or heart diseases can also be given a dose of pneumonia vaccine, since their immune systems are severely impaired. Adults who are over 19 years of age with addictions such as smoking, drinking etc., should also get themselves immunized.
Besides, pneumonia vaccine can be taken by anyone who is under 65 years of age. The vaccine produces best results when administered at young age. People above 65 years of age can also take the vaccine if there has been no immunization with pneumonia vaccine. This is applicable even if you have had a bout of pneumonia before. Ideally, anyone who is in the age group of 40 to 50 is advised to take the vaccine. Certain Native American and Alaskan native populations are especially recommended to get themselves vaccinated.
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the frequency of pneumonia shots. The duration for which the effect of the vaccine lasts is unknown, this results in the ambiguity. Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not provide a clear verdict regarding how often to get a pneumonia shot. However, it is recommended that young people should take the vaccine at an interval of 5 to 10 years. But there is a concern regarding this, as frequent vaccination may not be effective. People above 65 years of age should only take single shot of pneumonia vaccine. This should provide them life long protection against the disease. Younger individuals may have to go for a booster dose. In any case, it is best to consult your doctor regarding the pneumonia vaccine frequency.
How to Protect Yourself Against Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infectious disease which is transmitted from person to person by the means of respiratory secretions. Hence, it is imperative that you avoid coming into contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person. Wash your hands thoroughly if you accidentally come in contact with saliva or nasal discharge of an infected person. If you are infected yourself, take all the necessary measures to protect your family from the disease. Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Dispose off the tissues immediately after use. Take all the possible hygiene measures.
Hope this article helped you to understand the number of times you are supposed to take the vaccine. Before you enroll for any free community vaccination programs, make it a point to consult your doctor regarding the implications and frequency of the vaccine.