The pneumonia shot refers to the vaccines for pneumonia that provides protection against various serotypes of pneumococcal bacteria. After receiving the vaccine shot, healthy individuals develop protection against most of Pneumococcal strains within 2 to 3 weeks.

Contrary to a myth, the pneumonia shot does not result in pneumonia as it is prepared from bacterial component which is not infectious. Moreover, the vaccines itself is inactivated; therefore it can be given alongside with other vaccines like flu.

Types of Pneumonia Shot

There are various types of vaccination available in the market and many scientific groups continue to do further research to invent more strong vaccines that provide protection from large number of serotypes.

                    Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV23) provides protection against 23 serotypes

                    Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) provides protection against 13 serotypes

Who needs pneumonia shot?

If you fall into any of the below mentioned categories, then you may visit your health care provider and discuss about receiving the pneumonia shot.

                    Older Adults in age group of 65 years and above; need to get vaccinated if they are previously unvaccinated.

                    Individuals who smoke cigarettes should get vaccinated

                    Individuals (age between 2–64 years) with Chronic cardiovascular disease such as congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy

                    Individuals with Chronic pulmonary disease such as COPD, emphysema, asthma

                    Individuals with Diabetes mellitus, cochlear implant patients

                    Individuals with Chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis, alcoholic, or have a cerebrospinal fluid leak.

                    Individuals who are residents of Alaska Natives or certain American Indian populations

                    Individuals between 2–64 years and have functional or anatomic Asplenia

                    Individuals (age 2 years and older) with immune-compromised system due to HIV/AIDS infection, Hodgkin’s disease, generalized malignancy, chronic renal failure, leukaemia, etc. 

                    Individuals who are receiving immune-suppressive therapy

                    Individuals who had receive an organ or bone marrow transplant

Side Effects of Pneumonia Shot

The vaccines for pneumonia shot are very safe and produce very mild side effects if any.

Common side effects of pneumonia shot

                    Redness/rashness at the injection site

                    Mild Fever

                    Mild Pain

                    Pain in the muscles

Source of information for Pneumonia Shot

You may contact at the below mentioned address for getting the detailed information about any pneumonia shot, vaccines available, frequencies of doses, etc.

                    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Immunization Program

1600 Clifton Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30333

1-800-232-2522

                    American Lung Association

1740 Broadway

New York, NY 10019-4374

1-800-LUNG-USA

(1-800-586-4872)

Pneumonia is a life threatening disease and every year, it is responsible for the death of millions of individuals across the world. Thus, if you have any doubts that you may have pneumonia, you should rush to your doctor immediately.

The incidence of Pneumonia is more prevalent in children, older adults and patients suffering from chronic illnesses. The basic understanding of signs and symptoms of Pneumonia goes a long way in successful and quick treatment of the disease. 

In case, you have any of the following symptoms and they remain for long time then you should see your doctor.

                    Cough and Cold due to infection in the upper respiratory tract

                    High Fever with temperature of 102 F or higher for more than one day

                    Sharp and severe chest pain that worsens while coughing or inhaling

                    Breathe Shortness

                    Shaking Chills and Profuse Sweating

                    Overall health gets worsened after catching flu or cold

Children

As children do not develop prominent symptoms of Pneumonia therefore it is essential that you should take your child to the paediatrician immediately if you have even a slight doubt of presence of pneumonia.

Older Adult

You should visit your medical care or hospital on priority basis in case you are an older adult and symptoms of Pneumonia are present. The individuals who are alcoholic or injured; need to seek immediate medical attention as they are more prone to infections in the lungs.

Individuals with weak Immune System

The patients who have weakened immune system due to AIDS, immuno suppressive drugs, chemotherapy, etc are more susceptible to get Pneumonia than otherwise healthy persons. 

Similarly, patients who have other chronic illnesses like Asthma or who need organ transplant or who is under treatment for cancer are more vulnerable to pneumonia.

There are many types of Pneumonia and you may observe your doctor using various terms for describing pneumonia like community acquired Pneumonia, walking Pneumonia, etc. The classification of Pneumonia is done for the easy management of the disease.

Let’s see various ways of classifying Pneumonia.

On the basis of location acquired

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP): When a person gets infected with pneumonia and he/she has not been hospitalized recently, then it is called as Community-acquired pneumonia.

It is regarded as most common type of pneumonia. The CAP is caused by Streptococcus pneumonia (Bacterium), viruses, atypical bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria and Haemophilus influenza.

Walking Pneumonia: The less severe form of community-acquired pneumonia is called as “Walking pneumonia”.  Here, the individual does not need any hospitalization and he/she may continue to walk due to less severe symptoms.

Walking pneumonia is caused by the Mycoplasma pneumonia (atypical bacterium).

Hospital-acquired (HAP/Nosocomial pneumonia): As the name suggests, this type of pneumonia is acquired by the individuals during or after hospitalization due to any other illness or procedure. The symptoms of Hospital-acquired Pneumonia develop at least 72 hrs after admission.

The causes and treatment of HAP are different from CAP. It is caused by Hospital-acquired microorganisms such as Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, MRSA, and Serratia. It is more deadly than CAP.

On the basis of area of lung affected

Lobar pneumonia: It involves infection in single lobe, or one section of a lung. It is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae  or Klebsiella pneumonia.

Multilobar pneumonia: It involves infection in more than one lobe of lungs. It is considered to be more severe form of pneumonia where lungs are affected in patches around the bronchi or bronchioles.

Interstitial pneumonia: It involves infection in the regions present between the alveoli. It is caused by viruses or atypical bacteria.

On the basis of cause of Pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia: It is caused by aspirating foreign objects that leads to pneumonia. These objects may contain anaerobic bacteria or contribute to other causes of pneumonia.

The aspiring objects include oral or gastric contents during eating, or after vomiting/reflux. It usually affects patients in hospitals.

Eosinophilic pneumonia: It is caused by the trigger of eosinophils (WBC) in the lungs as an immune response to infection or other environmental factors.

Chemical pneumonia: It is caused by chemical toxicants like pesticides that reach the lungs via inhalation or skin contact. The lipoid Pneumonia results from the presence of toxic oil in the lungs.

Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (COP/BOOP): It is caused by inflammation of the small airways present in the lungs.

Dust pneumonia: It is caused due to extreme exposure to dust that settles into the lungs alveoli.

Necrotizing pneumonia: It is caused by anaerobic bacteria and results in significant necrosis of lung cells, and lung abscess.

Opportunistic pneumonia: It occurs in the individuals with weakened immune system due to AIDS and strong chemotherapy. It is caused by cytomegalovirus, Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare and infectious agents.

Double pneumonia: It refers to acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Severe acute respiratory syndrome: It is caused by the SARS coronavirus and it is highly contagious in nature.

 

Pneumonia is the leading single cause of death in children across the world. In fact, the number of deaths caused by Pneumonia is more than number of deaths caused by measles, malaria and AIDS combined.

Statistics related to Pneumonia

                    Pneumonia causes 19 per cent deaths in children (estimated 1.4 million children) under the age of five years every year.

                    Every year, 156 million new pneumonia cases are reported and around 8.7 per cent of these cases are severe and need hospitalization.

                    India reports maximum number of new cases of pneumonia (43 million).  China comes second with 21 million new cases and Pakistan is third in the list with 10 million new cases.

                    Every year, pneumonia causes death of 410,000 children in India.

                    Streptococcus pneumonia and Haemophilus influenza are responsible for causing pneumonia in more than 50% of all childhood cases.

                    As per the results of various studies, the mortality rate of pneumonia can be decreased by using following methods.

Effective immunization

Early diagnosis

Optimal case management

Exclusive breastfeeding for six months

Minimizing indoor air pollution

Preventive antibiotic treatment in HIV infected children

Zinc supplementation

                    Major infectious agents of Pneumonia include bacteria, viruses or fungi.

                    Addressing environmental factors, immunization, and adequate nutrition go a long way in preventing pneumonia.

                    Although Pneumonia can be treated by using antibiotics; only 30% of infected children have access to the required antibiotics.

                    Every day, an estimated 4,300 young lives are claimed by pneumonia (one young life every 20 seconds).

                    There is a huge difference in the number of pneumonia led deaths in children in developed and developing countries. An estimated 98 percent of children who died due to pneumonia belong to developing countries.

                    For every death of child due to pneumonia in developed nations, there are 2,000 children that die in developing countries.

                    Only 1 out of every 5 infected children receives antibiotics for treating pneumonia.

The risk category for Pneumonia comprises of individuals who are vulnerable of getting Pneumonia. It predominately includes children, older adults (65 years and above) and patients with other complications.

The Pneumonia is easily spread in patients with immune deficiency diseases like AIDS/HIV. The risk category or risk factors are the conditions that enhance the possibility of getting pneumonia.

Let’s check out of risk factors of Pneumonia

• Chronic lung disease such as COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis and other conditions.

• Individuals with habit of cigarette smoking or Drugs or alcohol abuse

• Difficulty in swallowing because of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and dementia.

• Cerebral palsy

• Patients who have weakened Immune system or immune-compromised system

• Impaired consciousness due to loss of brain function

• Liver cirrhosis or diabetes mellitus or emphysema

• Individuals who have undergone recent surgery

• Cold, laryngitis, or flu

• Living in hospital or nursing facility

• Exposure to toxic pollutants and fumes

• Other serious illnesses like heart disease

The special care needs to be taken in the following cases.

Older Adult (around 65 years or more)

The individuals who are smokers, alcoholic, take drugs or injured; need to seek immediate medical attention as they are more prone to infections in the lungs. You should visit your medical care or hospital on priority basis in case you are an older adult and symptoms of Pneumonia are present.

Babies

It is essential that you should take your child to the paediatrician immediately if you have even a slight doubt of presence of pneumonia as children do not develop prominent symptoms of Pneumonia.

Individuals with Immune-compromised System

Patients who have other chronic illnesses like heart diseases, asthma or who need organ transplant or who is under treatment for cancer are more vulnerable to pneumonia. Similarly, patients who have weakened immune system due to AIDS, immune suppressive drugs, chemotherapy, etc are more susceptible to get Pneumonia than otherwise healthy persons.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a type of respiratory infection associated with the inflammation and infection of the lungs. It is one of the leading causes of death in the patients across the world.

It can be caused by different types of infectious agents including microorganisms like virus, bacteria, and fungi. It can infect one or both the lungs.

When a person gets Pneumonia, there is accumulation of pus and other fluids in the lung tissues. It makes it difficult for the person to breathe and it further leads to cough and fever.

Common Symptoms

The typical symptoms of the Pneumonia comprises of difficulty in breathing, cough with sputum production, and severe chest pain while inhaling the air. The pneumonia is usually diagnosed by taking the chest x-rays and examining the sputum of the patient.

The exact treatment is recommended by the doctor after thorough diagnosis and it depends on the presence of type of pneumonia in the patient being treated.

Severity of Disease

Pneumonia is the killer disease that accounts for an estimated 18% of all deaths of children (less than five years old). The brutality of this killer disease is evident from the fact that it causes more number of deaths than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Pneumonia can occur to anyone; however its incidence is more prominent in children, older adults and patients suffering from chronic illnesses. It is highly prevalent in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian region.

The severity of Pneumonia depends on various factors such as type of Pneumonia, extent of pneumonia and overall health of the patient.

For example, a healthy and young person is easy to treat while an old person with other complications is really hard to be treated successfully. Overall, there are over fifty types of pneumonia.

Classification of Pneumonia

There are various ways of classifying Pneumonia and this classification assists in better identification and management of the Pneumonia. The treatment for different types of Pneumonia differs from each other.

On the basis of where or how it was acquired

                    Community-acquired

                    Aspiration

                    Healthcare-associated

                    Hospital-acquired

                    Ventilator-associated pneumonia

On the basis of area of lung affected

                    Lobar pneumonia

                    Bronchial pneumonia

                    Acute interstitial pneumonia

On the basis of causative organism

                    Bacteria

                    Viruses

                    Fungi

                    Parasites

                    Idiopathic

On the basis of signs and symptoms (in children)

                    Non-severe

                    Severe

                    Very severe

Prevention and GAAP

As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”; it holds true in case of Pneumonia as well and therefore it is important to understand the underlying causes, symptoms and preventive measures of Pneumonia.

There are vaccines available today that can prevent the occurrence of pneumonia. One can keep check on pneumonia by immunization, adequate nutrition and taking care of various environmental factors.

WHO and UNICEF had launched the action plan for the prevention and control of pneumonia on a global scale in 2009. It is called as GAAP and it involves taking several measures in order to protect, prevent, and treat pneumonia in children across the world.

You might have heard cases of persons who died because of the pneumonia complications. Pneumonia is considered as a killer disease worldwide that can affect anyone. Thus, we should know about the various complications associated with Pneumonia that can lead to fatal conditions.

Let’s briefly discuss the common complications of pneumonia.

Abscesses: The abscesses are pus filled cavities that are formed due to damaged lung tissues. In severe untreated cases, they can lead to haemorrhage (bleeding) in the lungs. Abscesses are treated by using antibiotics.

It occurs due to aspiration pneumonia caused by various micro organisms that infect the lungs such as Staphylococcus Aureus or Klebsiella pneumonia. The abscesses caused by Streptococcus pneumonia are uncommon.

Respiratory Failure: It refers to the failure of the respiratory system in individuals infected with pneumococcal pneumonia. It is a fatal condition that poses great risk to patient’s life.

It includes the following conditions

                    ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome) involves severe reduction in Oxygen levels due to compromised lung functions. It is a major cause of death in many patients.

                    Ventilatory failure involves mechanical changes in the lungs due to pneumonia

                    Hypoxemic respiratory failure involves loss of oxygen in the arteries.

 

Bacteraemia: This condition is characterised by the presence of bacteria in blood. It occurs due to infection caused by pneumococcus and other gram-negative organisms like Haemophilus influenza.

Pleural Effusion: In this condition the space present between the lung and chest walls witness the build up of fluid. Generally, the lungs are covered by visceral pleura and chest walls are covered by parietal pleura.

This build-up of the fluid between the pleural membranes results in breathlessness and sharp chest pain while inhaling.

Empyema: In this condition, the pus gets accumulated in region between the lung and chest wall.

Collapsed Lung: It is characterised by the accumulation of air in the space between the pleural membranes. It is a fatal condition that can arrest the functioning of the lungs.

It occurs due to the infection from Streptococcus pneumonia or as a complication of invasive procedures used for the treatment of pleural effusion.

Abscesses in the brain/other organs: In some cases, the infection present in the lungs get spread to the heart and eventually reached to various organs of the body via bloodstream. In severe cases, it results in abscesses in the brain and other organs.

Severe Haemoptysis (Coughing up blood): It is a potentially fatal complication of pneumonia that is more commonly found in patients with associated lung problems like cystic fibrosis.

Other Complications of Pneumonia

The other complications of Pneumonia result from the spread of infection to the various parts of the body.

                    Secondary bacterial lung infection

                    Infections of the digestive system

                    Septicemia characterised by presence of bacteria in various body organs

                    Meningitis (swelling of the spinal cord covering)

                    Septic Arthritis (infection of a joint due to spread of bacteria via the bloodstream)

                    Endocarditis (infection of the heart muscle) 

                    Pericarditis (infection of the sac surrounding the heart)

Pneumonia is the inflammation in the lungs that is primarily caused by infections due to micro organisms like bacteria, virus and fungi. Additionally, the pneumonia can be caused by parasites and idiopathic reasons.

The bacteria and viruses are the most common infectious agent followed by fungi and parasites. In some cases, the mixed infections involving both viruses and bacteria may occur.

How infectious agents are transmitted to body?

The infectious agents of Pneumonia such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc; are transmitted to human body through various ways.

                    There is presence of Bacteria and viruses in our nose, sinuses, and mouth and these can get spread to the lungs in certain circumstances.

                    The germs are present in the air and these can get through the immune system present in our respiratory system to reach directly into the lungs during inhalation.

                    The germs can also be transferred through food or fluids from the mouth into the lungs.

Let’s discuss briefly about common infectious agents of Pneumonia.

Bacteria

Bacteria are the most common cause of Pneumonia. They normally affect the adult population.

The different strains of bacteria are associated with various risk factors.

                    Alcoholism: Streptococcus pneumoniae, anaerobic organisms, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

                    Smoking: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Legionella pneumophila

                    Exposure to birds: Chlamydia psittaci

                    Exposure to farm animals: Coxiella burnetti

                    Aspiration of stomach contents: Anaerobes

                    Cystic fibrosis: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus

Viruses

After Bacteria, Viruses account for majority of the cases of Pneumonia especially in adults. As per the estimates, viruses are responsible for one third of Pneumonia cases.

Common Viruses that cause Pneumonia are as follows:

                    Rhinoviruses, Coronaviruses, Influenza virus

                    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Adenovirus

                    Parainfluenza, Herpes simplex virus (causes Pneumonia in newborns)

                    Cytomegalovirus (CMV) (Causes Pneumonia in patients with weakened immune systems)

Fungi

The pneumonia caused by fungi may occur in persons that have weakened immune systems. The fungal pneumonia has similar pathophysiology as that of bacterial pneumonia.

The immune system of the individuals might get weak due to various reasons including immunosuppressive drugs, AIDS or any other medical diseases. Thus, they become susceptible to fungal infection leading to Pneumonia.

Common Fungi that cause Pneumonia are as follows:

                    Histoplasma capsulatum, blastomyces

                    Cryptococcus neoformans

                    Pneumocystis jiroveci

                    Coccidioides immitis

Parasites

The parasites infect the human body through the skin or the mouth. They reach the lungs via bloodstream; cause cell damage and triggers immune response leading to pneumonia. The response of eosinophils to the parasite infection in the lungs results in eosinophilic pneumonia.

Common parasites that cause Pneumonia are as follows:

                    Toxoplasma gondii

                    Strongyloides stercoralis

                    Ascariasis

Idiopathic interstitial pneumonia

Apart from infectious pneumonia causes by Bacteria, Fungi, Virus and Parasites; there are certain causes of pneumonia that are idiopathic in nature and belongs to diffuse lung diseases.

Common lung diseases that cause Idiopathic interstitial pneumonia are as follows:

                    diffuse alveolar damage, lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia

                    organizing pneumonia, desquamative interstitial pneumonia

                    nonspecific interstitial pneumonia, interstitial pneumonia

                    respiratory bronchiolitis interstitial lung disease