Winter is coming – should you get a pneumonia vaccination?

By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate

ST. GEORGE – The temperatures are dropping and the holidays are nearly upon us. Are you up to date on your vaccines? Most people who intend to take a flu vaccine have taken it or have made arrangements to get the vaccine soon. But should you or someone you love also take a pneumonia vaccine?
Dani Lambruno, R.N. and Patient Care Coordinator at the St. George Medical Clinic said there are two pneumonia vaccines.
“The Pneumococcal conjugate is recommended for all children younger than 5 years old and children who are 6 years old and older with certain risk factors,” Lambruno said. “The Pneumococcal polysaccharide is recommended for adults age 65 and older.”
She said cold symptoms can always advance into pneumonia.
“Basically, this can happen but especially to those who are older,” Lambruno said. “If you develop a temperature that cannot be controlled with Tylenol or Ibuprofen or if you develop shortness of breath, seek medical advice to rule out pneumonia.”
Lambruno said anyone of any age showing signs of pneumonia should be checked by their primary care physician or an emergency physician.
“Those who have pneumonia should treat their symptoms and make sure to stay hydrated,” she said. “We stress plenty of fluids. Sometimes a physician will recommend the use of an inhaler to help with breathing, but basically, people treat the symptoms. Sometimes, people need to be hospitalized to manage their disease.”
Lambruno said usually, a person with pneumonia will need to take an antibiotic. She said at St. George Clinic, there have been very few cases this year of pneumonia.
“Good hand washing is key to preventing the spread of many diseases,” she said. “We do recommend a flu vaccine. It does not necessarily prevent pneumonia, but it helps build the immune system.”

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