Pneumonia is more common than you might think, resulting in over a million hospital stays every year. It’s an infection in one or both lungs, causing fluid build-up and inflammation. Pneumonia is a serious illness that might cause problems with oxygen exchange.
The good news? You can reduce your risk of getting pneumonia by following these four simple steps.
1. Get vaccinated
Since the flu can increase your risk for getting pneumonia because it affects the immune system, it’s important to get your flu shot each year. Adults over age 65 should get the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, which helps prevent bacterial pneumonia. Talk to your doctor about whether you’re up-to-date on your vaccines and determine what additional shots, like chicken pox and measles, might be appropriate for you.
2. Wash your hands
Frequent hand washing, especially after using the restroom and blowing your nose, combats common illnesses, including pneumonia.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking hinders your lung’s ability to fight off infection. Studies show that smokers are at a higher risk of getting bronchitis and pneumonia. If you do smoke, you’re in a high-risk group and should get the pneumococcal vaccine.
4. Take care of your general health
Respiratory infections might lead to pneumonia, so see your doctor if symptoms linger for more than a few days. Healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and regular exercise, keep you from getting sick and promote faster recovery if you do get a respiratory illness.
For additional ways to prevent pneumonia and other infections, contact Kingston HealthCare today!