From Florida Hospital – Apopka

Pneumonia. It’s a scary term, but you may not know much about its signs, symptoms, or what you can do to protect yourself against it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 million Americans end up hospitalized each year due to pneumonia, with 50,000 dying from the disease. However, by taking time to educate yourself about the disease and its vaccine, you can avoid becoming part of these statistics.

We spoke with Anita Moorjani, MD, pediatric medicine specialist who works with graduate medical education at Florida Hospital, to break down what you need to know to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

First of all: what exactly is pneumonia?
“Pneumonia is inflammation or infection of the lung tissues,” explains Dr. Moorjani. The cause varies between age groups. In infants and young children, pneumonia is usually attributed to viruses like respiratory syncytial virus, commonly called RSV, metapneumovirus, or influenza. Children and adults may have “walking pneumonia,” caused by mycoplasma bacteria, which causes respiratory infections.pneumonia_dx_sheet

What are the symptoms?
Pneumonia symptoms differ based on the age of an infected person. Infants may suffer from fever, breathing and feeding problems, and full-body infection. In young children, there’s greater concern over the infection spreading to the blood or the brain. Adults and older children usually experience cough, shortness of breath, runny noses, chest tightness, and fevers.

Typically, it takes around five days to recover from viral pneumonia, and about two to three days after starting antibiotics to recover from bacterial pneumonia.

Who is the most at risk?
“Anyone with a suppressed immune system has an increased risk of contracting pneumonia,” Dr. Moorjani says. This includes young infants and the elderly, as well as people on medications like cancer drugs or steroids. Unvaccinated children and patients with underlying heart and lung disease are also more at risk.

How does the vaccine work? Do I need a vaccine?
Dr. Moorjani explains, “The pneumococcal vaccine, or PCV13, is recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics as part of a routine vaccine series starting at two months of age.”

There are four vaccines total for maximum protection against the disease, and all are normally received within the first year of life, when children are at their highest risk for infection.

Another vaccine, PPSV23, offers further protection against different strains of pneumonia.

“This vaccine is indicated for children over age 2 who have high-risk conditions like sickle-cell disease, HIV, chronic renal disease, or immunodeficiency,” Dr. Moorjani says. Children with these conditions should receive both vaccines for protection against infection. Adults, age 65 and over, should also receive both PPSV23 and PCV13, as immunity to the disease can wane over time.

“These vaccines are very safe,” Dr. Moorjani says. “The most common side effects are pain at the injection site and a mild fever for one to three days after the vaccination.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. It took me longer than that to get over pneumonia! I had coughed so severely that I had to hold a pillow tight against my chest when I coughed. My clothes were wringing wet from sweating. I had a fever of 103. I was beginning to get “out of it” and then was taken to a urgent care and received oxygen treatment that seemed to last forever, I was freezing and had to breathe in and out holding my breath which was almost impossible. I had a shot in the rump of penicillin, and then left, they wanted me to go to the hospital and I said no, because this all happened out of state, when my mother died, and her funeral was the next day, and I said no, I am not going to a hospital and miss my mother’s funeral. They wrote me prescriptions for antibiotics and some of the strongest hydrocodone that only one pharmacy in the area even had it, and when my husband handed them the prescriptions, they said whooooo….that is strong, we will have to look and see if we even have that, and if we don’t no one else around here does have it.

  2. I managed to get to the funeral was feeling better, thought I was okay, was getting dressed for the funeral, shaved my legs as normal, and then came out of the bathroom, and realized I must have cut my legs to pieces, as I must have had hundreds of cuts all over my legs and I could not get my legs to stop bleeding. I ended up wearing something other than my dress I had picked out, and wore pants. I felt like every time I breathed in and out that it felt like a knife sticking in me. The urgent care place said when I return back to Florida if I still was sick to go to the hospital. I could not even push the door to the truck open or open a convenient store door. It was horrible and I was still coughing and that was painful. I was told by relatives that maybe I had plursey, which they said was inflammation between the lining of the lungs. Yes, they said, you have it!

  3. My husband took me to the hospital in Ocoee. They gave me more oxygen treatments, shots, and did x-rays, and sent me for C Scans. They sent the results to my doctor and he said he wanted to talk with me. I said okay. He asked if I had been domestically abused. I was floored and said, what???????? Why?????? He said that the lab techs that read the C Scans was ready to call the police, and then they called my doctor, and he told them to hold off, let me talk to her first. He said I had about 8 ribs cracked down one side, and about the same amount down the other side of my ribs…….plus old cracked ribs too. Oh my god……this was my worst nightmare, ever! My mother had died, I was very sick and in pain, and now they were ready to call the police, thinking my husband was abusing me!

  4. I left the doctor’s office and was crying and drove as fast as I could to where my husband was working on the construction site and told him OMG the C Scan place thinks you have beaten and abused me! I told them no, no, no! He is as good as gold to me. He loves me, no, that I had been coughing so hard that it cracked my ribs. The doctor said well why do you have old fractures then. I told him I don’t know, but that I used to play golf a littlre and I remember whacking the driver once and I was in pain but thought it was a strained muscle in my side, but that I guess I had cracked a rib……..long story short, I did not have plursey, but instead had a bad case of pneumonia, plus 8 ribs cracked down both sides….eight on one side, and 8 on the other side, and my doctor believed me when I told him that my husband did not abuse me!!! It took me a long time to recoup.

  5. I got the PCV13 vaccination and will have to get another in five years. I now know that pneumonia is so dangerous. As I said my dad died from pneumonia plus other conditions. He had fluid built up on his lungs and was drowning in his own fluid, when he was taken to the hospital, and he died four days later, after going into a coma, and not coming out of it. If you even think you have pneumonia, go get checked out, and don’t mess around if you have a bad cough, fever, or sweating and then have freezing chills.

  6. I also still to this day, wonder what my mother died from. She had a bad cold a few weeks before she died, and she had been diagnosed with bronchitis and had been coughing very badly too. She and I had driven to CVS up town and I went in and got her some cough medicine that she wanted, and I came out with it, got in the car, and she told me if I live through this cold I have, I will be so happy. I told Mama that she would feel better when the weather warms up. It had been so cold. Well, she passed away at home during the night in her sleep, several days later, and I will always wonder if she had pneumonia too. I was starting to get sick right before she died, and I suspect that she had pneumonia too.

  7. I almost forgot the last part of my pneumonia experience. When I was at the Ocoee hospital and got treatment before I ever went to the C-Scan place…..I had a very large male doctor with big muscles. He was so nice to me, and told me he hoped I could get myself together emotionally, after my mother passed away, he talked to me about my mother, and he said that we are going to do everything we can to help you physically with your pneumonia, and we will see what is going on when they do the C-Scan and the results are read, and I wish you the very best, and hope you get well soon, and with that, he reached around me and gave me a strong tight bear hug and I thought I was going to die!!! He did not realize how much my ribs hurt, and his strength……I didn’t cry out or nothing like that, but OMG, it hurt!!! I told my husband on the way back home, I think the doctor cracked some more of my ribs.

  8. The PCV13 vaccine protects against 13 strains of the bacteria or virus, not sure which. Then you go back 5 years later, and get a booster, so when you go back, they want to know which type of vaccine you got the first time. After the pneumonia happened to me, I got vaccinated back then. They said it would last a lifetime. Then I read where you need to get both kinds of vaccines, so I got the PCV13. They ask what other vaccines you have had recently. Some you cannot take too close together. My insurance covered it, but if you had to purchase it without insurance, it is high. But then again, my insurance is high!!! It is a rough shot, it smarts, and stays sore for days! I got mine at Publix pharmacy at Hunt Club. I plan on getting a whooping cough vaccine too. I almost typed whooping crane vaccine, LOL……bet they would look at me crazy if I asked for a whooping crane vaccine!!!

  9. Hillary has pneumonia and is planning on going back campaigning Thursday. How is that possible with pneumonia? She looks better than I did when I was sick with pneumonia, that’s all I have to say. I looked horrible, and felt worse than horrible! I probably couldn’t have even raised my arm up to wave, to people like she did, if I had wanted to. It was that bad! I remember sitting on my relative’s sofa, slumped over, and being out of my mind the night before my mother’s funeral, and wringing wet with sweat, and confused, and moaning, and my relative had made spaghetti with the fixings, and trying their best to get me to eat. I was like, oh god, no, no, and them insisting on me eating, and I was out of it, and moaning, and them patting me down with a cold wet washcloth on the forehead, and not even hardly knowing where I was, and asking me if I wanted a cocktail, or some dessert, or spaghetti……no, no, please, leave me alone, and just let me die.

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