Should You Get the Pneumonia Vaccine?

vaccineThere are several benefits to getting the pneumonia vaccine if you are over 65. Read on to learn more, and thanks for visiting us at Advocare

It’s the time of year for colds and other respiratory illnesses. Most are mild. But if you or your parent have a fever, cough, chest pain and trouble breathing, it could be pneumonia, a much more serious disease — especially for those over 65.

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can cause severe illness or death. About one in five people who get pneumonia outside of a healthcare setting need to be hospitalized. That’s why it’s important for all people 65 and older to get vaccinated against the disease (the vaccination is covered by Medicare).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new recommendations that people 65 and up should get two shots, spaced six to 12 months apart.

Why Get the Shots?

About 1 million people are hospitalized with pneumonia in the U.S. each year and 50,000 people die of it. Most are adults.

A bacterium called pneumococcus is one of the most common causes of severe pneumonia. It can also cause meningitis and bacteremia, or blood stream infection. The latter two are usually very severe, causing hospitalization or even death.

The good news: The two pneumococcal vaccines can be very valuable for preventing severe disease. The shot given first is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, also known by the brand name Prevnar13. The second shot is the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or Pneumovax.

Prevention through vaccination is important because some strains of pneumococcal disease have proven to be highly resistance to antibiotics, making them extremely difficult to treat.

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