Pneumonia is common chronic condition, characterized by a bacterial or viral infection in the lungs, which in turn can lead to swelling and fluid production, the NHS detailed.
Common symptoms of pneumonia, as outlined in the source, include, but are not limited to, breathing problems, excessive coughing with phlegm, fever and loss of appetite and weight loss.
Across the country every year, typically in the colder autumn and winter months, in a group of 1,000 adults as many as 11 will develop pneumonia, the British Lung Foundation detailed. And while pneumonia is a serious condition, it is rarely dangerous or fatal in healthy adults. This is not the case, however, for certain groups of people: Infants and young children, as well as the elderly, are more vulnerable to pneumonia and in serious cases will need medical treatment in hospitals. In severe cases pneumonia can lead to death, particularly in patients who are already experiencing other chronic conditions, such as cancer.
If you're concerned about pneumonia, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of preventing the condition. Some of the most effective include:
1. Good hygiene
The British Lung Foundation explained that while pneumonia itself is rarely spread between people, certain conditions such as colds or the flu can heighten your risk of developing the condition. For that reason, an effective pneumonia prevention strategy is to adopt good hygiene habits, throughout the year, but especially so during cold and flu season (autumn and winter.) Examples of proper hygiene, as outlined by the NHS, include always washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, covering the mouth when sneezing, either with your arm or a tissue and disposing of all tissues after use.
2. Get vaccinated
A great way to lower your risk is to ensure that you get vaccinated by your nurse or GP. According to Focus on Disability, the vaccinations that can help include the flu jab and the jab designed specifically to combat pneumonia - the pneumococcal vaccination. The British Lung Foundation explained that there are two types of jabs against pneumonia: the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. The latter jab is designed for the elderly - over the age of 65 - while the other vaccination is administered to infants shortly after birth.
"Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water."
3. Don't drink too much
As outlined by the NHS, drinking too much alcohol can leave your body weaker and more susceptible to pneumonia, among other conditions. That's why it's a wise idea to drink in moderation, at all times. The NHS guidelines suggest that adults should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
4. Don't smoke
Smoking can increase your risk for pneumonia, the British Lung Foundation reported, and that's not to mention the fact that smoking can increase your risk of a whole host of other chronic conditions, including cancer, bronchitis and heart disease. Quitting smoking, therefore, is an effective prevention strategy and a great step on the road to a healthier life. The NHS provides a number of resources for those looking to ditch the habit. Click here to learn more.
5. Take care of your overall health
If you take extra steps to boost your health during the winter months, you'll likely lower your risk of developing a cold or the flu, which in turn can help reduce your risk of pneumonia. Strategies include, as detailed by the Express, eating plenty of fruits of vegetables, especially those with high concentrations of vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, regular exercise, drinking plenty of water and so on.
At Gracewell Healthcare, we are dedicated to providing the very best, personalized care in all of our homes. This includes ensuring that all residents remain as healthy as possible throughout cold and flu season. To learn more, contact us today.