Pneumonia is an acute infection of the lungs. It can range from a mild disease infecting one lobe of the lung to a more dangerous disease infecting both lungs and requiring a hospital stay. The more severe cases can happen to anyone, but are typically common among the elderly, smokers, alcoholics, and people that have compromised immune systems.
Pneumonia can be caused from a virus, fungus, or a parasite. The infected lungs leak fluids and clog air sacs preventing the lungs from getting oxygen into the blood. Without sufficient oxygen in the blood, the cells in the body are not able to work properly. It generally last about two weeks, but the more severe the case, the longer the recovery time.
Symptoms of Pneumonia include, but are not limited to: cough, chills, fever, chest pain, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. In elderly individuals, confusion is a common symptom. Doctors may order a chest X-ray or a white blood cell count test to verify Pneumonia before starting treatment. The treatment for Pneumonia is your doctor’s decision; however, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, rest, and cough medicine are commonly prescribed.
If you feel that you may be at risk for contracting Pneumonia, consider getting vaccinated. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Protection for most types develops after 2-3 weeks of receiving the shot. Always look for unusual conditions such as fever or behavior changes following the injection. Soreness and redness around the injection site is a mild side effect and does not require medical attention.
This vaccine is covered under your Medicare Part B and can be received at your doctor’s office or pharmacy. Part B also covers a different second shot at the discretion of the Doctor 11 months after the exam where you got the first shot. Please make sure you show your Medicare red, white and blue card with your supplement insurance card to make sure it is billed correctly.