Tips on Preventing Pneumonia

Woman coughing and blowing her nose in autumn

Pneumonia is, simply put, an infection in the lungs. It ranges dramatically in severity, from cases so mild the patient may not even be aware he is sick to cases so severe that the disease may lead to death. Even moderate cases may lead to complications and/or require hospitalization. It may be unpleasant, leading to reduced socialization, missed work, and of course, the seemingly endless coughing and shortness of breath. Clearly, pneumonia is not something that people are lining up to volunteer to suffer from. So what can one do to prevent pneumonia?

  • Do not smoke – If you are a smoker, quit. Study after study have definitively proven that smoking does harm to lungs. Damaged lungs are more susceptible to infection. There are numerous options for people trying to quit smoking, including the mobile app QuitNow!, prescription medications, group or individual therapy, and over-the-counter gums, lozenges, and patches – keep trying until you find what works for you!

  • Practice good hygiene – Some forms of pneumonia are contagious. Other forms may develop as a complication from viral infections, such as the flu or the common cold. Washing your hands regularly is the best defense against contracting and spreading contagious diseases.

  • Get vaccinated – Vaccines exist for pneumococcal pneumonia, a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Influenza, measles, pertussis, and chickenpox may all have the potential to cause pneumonia. Keeping up to date on vaccinations against these diseases may save a patient a lot of discomfort and expense in the long run.

  • Make sure your children are vaccinated – It is important to keep your children up to date on their vaccinations for many reasons. Children are not magically protected from complications of common diseases, and preventing a disease is the best way to prevent complications of it.

  • Keep your immune system strong – The healthier a person is, the healthier that person is likely to remain. Getting adequate sleep, eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough exercise are all great steps to take for not only preventing pneumonia, but for achieving overall wellness.


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