How can pneumonia be prevented?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Pneumonia can't always be prevented, but vaccination can help keep you from getting it and make the illness milder if you do get sick. An annual seasonal flu shot can help keep you from getting the flu, which can turn into pneumonia. The pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine is recommended for people who are 65 or older, who have chronic health problems such as diabetes or heart failure, or who have weak immune systems. One shot usually provides protection for at least five years. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is also recommended for all children under two and for children aged two to five who go to group daycare or preschool. Doctors also recommend the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine for all children under age 5. Hib can cause pneumonia in children.

There are lots of things people can do to help prevent pneumonia, for example, eating healthily and doing regular exercise. Another important one is washing hands with soap and water after touching animals, using the bathroom, and before eating. Pneumonia germs are often coughed or sneezed into the air and then breathed in by another person. So, every time people cough or sneeze, they should catch the germs by covering their mouth and nose with a clean tissue, throw that tissue in the bin, and kill the germs by washing their hands with soap and water. People can also ask their doctor about vaccinations, which are injections that help protect people against different infections and germs.

Dr. Brian D. Gelbman, MD
Pulmonary Disease Specialist

The best way to prevent pneumonia is to get your vaccinations; the flu vaccine is the most important way, and for those over 65, there is also a pneumonia vaccine. In this video, pulmonologist Brian Gelbman, MD, discusses ways to avoid pneumonia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.