Steps You Can Take To Prevent Pneumonia

If you’re like many people supporting an aging parent or loved one, you’ve had concerns about the spread of pneumonia and the health risks associated with contracting this dangerous condition. Can your loved one contract pneumonia at church, in the grocery store, or at the doctor’s office? What measures can you take to lower their risk?

What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia is the term used to describe the condition in which the air sacs inside the lungs fill with pus and fluid, making it difficult to breathe and causing other unwanted symptoms. Pneumonia is caused by pathogens – bacteria, viruses, or fungi – that have reached the lungs and overwhelmed the immune system.

How is pneumonia spread?

Pneumonia itself can’t be spread from person to person, but the pathogens that cause pneumonia can be. And because over 30 different organisms can eventually lead to pneumonia, how they spread from one person to the next varies significantly. Generally speaking, the pathogens that cause pneumonia can be spread through the air after a person with the pathogen coughs, laughs, or sneezes; through infected surfaces; and through skin-to-skin contact.

What steps can be taken to prevent pneumonia?

There is no foolproof way to prevent contracting bugs that can lead to pneumonia, but there are several steps you can take to decrease risk, including:

  • Washing your hands often and carrying hand sanitizer when out and about
  • Quitting smoking
  • Throwing away used tissues
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Taking vitamin C
  • Getting your pneumonia vaccination annually

There may be times when your loved one’s doctor recommends he or she stays home to avoid contracting infections, such as when they are sick, run down, or immunocompromised. He or she can help you determine whether certain outings or vacations are inadvisable.

At Santé, we care about the whole health of our patients. To learn more about how we can help you and your loved one, contact us at your local Santé office today.

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