How to Prevent Pneumonia This Winter?

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#‎ActivHealth‬ Tips
1. Most people develop Pneumonia after Flu – hence getting vaccinated yearly for Flu reduces the risk
2. Practice hand wash and good hygiene habits
3. Avoid Smoking as it reduces the body’s defense mechanism against germs and diseases
4. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and have adequate sleep to develop better immunity
5. Consult your Doctors to know if you should take Pneumococcal vaccine – especially if you are above 65 years of age

Pneumonia is a term used for the lung infection caused by a variety of germs like bacteria or virus leading to the inflammation in the airspaces in lungs. Pneumonia can affect one or both of the lungs. Person with pneumonia may have a cough, run a fever and face difficulty breathing. In mild cases, it clears in up to 2 to 3 weeks, without need for hospitalization. However, elderly people, babies and people with other health problems such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes can become very ill. It is advised to seek medical attention immediately for these people in high risk group.

With the adoption of a healthy lifestyle and proper care, the risks related to pneumonia can be minimized.

Pneumonia can be due to
• Virus
• Bacteria, which is more common cause in children
• Non infective causes: aspiration of water, chemicals or foreign body

Symptoms
Mostly, pneumonia begin with a runny nose, mild cough and fever. As the infection traverses through the airways to the lungs, it can cause
• Fever
• Wet cough producing up a lot of yellowish-green mucus
• Breathing problem with retractions between the ribs and under the rib cage
• Chest and abdominal pain
• Fatigue, weakness and exhaustion
• Anorexia (loss of appetite)

Diagnosis
Pneumonia can be diagnosed when crackles or decreased breath sounds are heard over a general test. Then, your doctor may ask for additional test to confirm pneumonia. The additional tests include:
• Chest X-ray, which is done to check for changes in the lungs
• Sputum culture
• Blood tests
• Rapid urine test, which is useful in case of bacterial pneumonia and for further treatment

Treatment of pneumonia
In case of viral pneumonia, recovering happens on its own over time. However, in severe cases, medical attention with antiviral medicines is required.
In cases of bacterial pneumonia, generally oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

Apart from medications, person with pneumonia has to follow these tips for home care:
• Person with pneumonia should drink lots of fluid and get plenty of rest
• Take medicine as prescribed by the doctor, do not miss any doses of medicines until fully recovered
• Do not give aspirin to people below 20 years of age as it can increase the risk of Reye syndrome. In fact, aspirin may be avoided for all cases

Consider Pneumococcal Vaccine for below risk factors
• 65 years or above
• Smokers, Alcoholic
• Suffer from chronic conditions such as Asthma, Diabetes, Heart Disease or Lung Disease
• If you have cirrhosis, any condition which weakens your immune system (AIDS), Kidney Failure, damaged or absence of Spleen, Sickle Cell Disease or have cochlear implants
• If you are taking medicine for recent organ transplant or on chemotherapy

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