Pneumonia is not uncommon by any means, in fact, there are more than 3 million cases of pneumonia in the U.S. every year. While the infection is common and treatable, pneumonia can be really bad news for people with weakened immune systems, children, and people over the age of 65. These at-risk groups are usually encouraged to practice strict hygiene codes or get a flu shot which can prevent pneumonia.
Being aware of the dangers of pneumonia and its somewhat unknown facts can help you both avoid the infection and also gain insight into its scope. Here are 5 pneumonia facts you probably didn’t know about.
Pneumonia Fact #1: There is no one cause of pneumonia.
So far, medical experts have found over 30 different causes of pneumonia, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and germs that are neither bacterial or viral. A person can get pneumonia even by breathing in something foreign like food, dust, smoke, liquid, or gas.
Pneumonia Fact #2: Pneumonia kills more children under the age of 5 than any other disease.
Young children are incredibly susceptible to pneumonia. Pneumonia in children from developing countries is also extremely common, especially for those who may be exposed to an open fire or lack of pediatric attention. Nonetheless, young children anywhere can contract pneumonia for a variety of factors, such as air quality or even cigarette smoke exposure, and the death rates are higher than that of any other disease for children under the age of 5.
Pneumonia Fact #3: Bacterias and viruses that cause pneumonia may already live inside you.
Like many other bacteria and viruses, our bodies are host to a number of potentially harmful germs which only happen to not affect us because of our immune system. If our immune system is low, or we already fighting another disease or infection, then the chance of contracting pneumonia is much greater.
Pneumonia Fact #4: Breastfeeding can prevent pneumonia in children.
It’s been proven that breast milk helps boost a baby’s immune system. That is one of the reasons why medical experts recommend exclusively breastfeeding a newborn until they’re at least 6 months old.
Pneumonia Fact #5: Pneumonia can be prevented with a flu vaccine.
Even if you don’t vaccinate yourself against pneumonia, getting an influenza shot every year can diminish your chances of contracting pneumonia. This is because many of the viruses that cause the flu also cause pneumonia. So get vaccinated! You’re taking care of two things at once.
Despite its commonality, pneumonia should not be taken lightly so even if you’re a healthy adult you should seek medical attention if you think you have pneumonia or may be at risk for pneumonia. To learn about more pneumonia facts or to speak with one of our pulmonology specialists about the symptoms of pneumonia please feel free to book an appointment or contact us today.