Receiving a pneumococcal vaccine (such as Prevnar, Pnu-Immune, or Pneumovax) is one of the most effective ways to prevent pneumonia. Vaccines used to prevent the flu or Hib disease may also be used. Aside from vaccines, there are a number of simple ways you can help prevent the spread of this infection, such as following a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest and physical activity.
How Do You Prevent Pneumonia?Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs. It can be quite serious -- even life-threatening. People at risk for pneumonia can take steps to help prevent an infection, including getting vaccinated.
Vaccines for Pneumonia PreventionSeveral vaccines are available to prevent certain types of pneumonia. These products can't prevent all cases, but they definitely help.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common form of pneumonia. The pneumococcal vaccine is one of the most effective ways of preventing this condition.
A few vaccines are used to prevent pneumococcal diseases in children and adults. They include the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar®) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pnu-Immune®, Pneumovax®).
The pneumococcal vaccine is often recommended for:
- Children who are two years old or younger
- Children between the ages of two and five who have a chronic disease, such as those who:
- Have sickle cell disease
- Have a damaged spleen (or no spleen)
- Have HIV or AIDS
- Have other diseases that affect the immune system, such as diabetes, liver disease, or cancer
- Take immunosuppressant medications, such as steroids or chemotherapy
- Have chronic lung disease or heart disease
- Children between the ages of two and five who have a cochlear implant
- People who are 65 years or older
- Adults who have chronic diseases, serious long-term health problems, or weak immune systems.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease is a serious illness caused by bacteria. Before the Hib vaccine became available, this disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children younger than five years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings; it can lead to lasting brain damage and deafness. Hib disease can also cause pneumonia, among other serious conditions.
The Hib vaccine is recommended for all children in the United States who are younger than five years old. It's often given to infants starting at two months of age.