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Pneumococcal Pneumonia Vaccination Can Save Your Life


SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Pneumococcal pneumonia is a potentially serious bacterial lung disease that can disrupt a person’s life for weeks. When severe, it can result in hospitalization and even be life threatening. Each year, pneumococcal pneumonia results in an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The American Lung Association and Pfizer are partnering to raise awareness about pneumococcal pneumonia and encourage adults to get vaccinated if they are eligible. During World Immunization Week -- April 24 to 30 -- they are highlighting the collective action needed to reduce the burden of pneumococcal pneumonia.

Here are some fast facts about the disease, along with tips and actions you can take to help stay healthy:

What are the symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia? Common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include high fever, excessive sweating, shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Some symptoms can appear quickly and without warning.

Should I receive a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination? Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are available to help prevent the disease and are recommended if you are at increased risk. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all adults aged 65 years or older and adults aged 19 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions or other risk factors, including: chronic lung disease like asthma or COPD, chronic heart disease, diabetes, and smoking cigarettes.

What if I am healthy? Even healthy adults 65 years or older are at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia. Because the body’s immune system naturally weakens with age, it can be more difficult for your body to defend against pneumococcal disease. In fact, adults 65 years old and older are over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia than adults aged 18-49.

What if I’ve had pneumonia before? You can get pneumococcal pneumonia more than once and having pneumococcal disease does not protect you from future infection.

What if I’ve already been vaccinated? Even if you’ve been vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia in the past, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider, as they may recommend an additional vaccination.

How can I help protect myself and my community? Getting the word out about the importance of vaccination against preventable illness can help keep people healthier. Recent data from the National Health Interview Survey estimates that only 22.2% of adults 19-64 at increased risk of pneumococcal disease ever received a vaccination, and only 65.8% of adults 65 years or older received at least one dose. Unfortunately, rates of vaccination are lower among Black, Hispanic/Latino and Asian adults compared with their white counterparts, putting members of these communities at risk of infection.

To learn more about pneumococcal pneumonia and your risk for it, visit

“It’s always the right time to discuss pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination with a healthcare provider. While cold and flu season is behind us, this disease can strike anytime, in any season and you can be vaccinated any time of year, too,” says Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.

Photo Credit: (c) monkeybusinessimages / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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