Pneumonia Vaccine - Prevention and Side Effects

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Is it possible to prevent pneumonia? Is there a pneumonia vaccine?

It is not possible to prevent all types of pneumonia, but you can take steps to reduce your chances of contracting the condition by quitting smoking, practicing good hand-washing, and avoiding contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other infections.

A vaccine is available against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as Pneumococcus). There are two types of vaccine: PPSV23, a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine against 23 types of the bacteria, and PCV13, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that protects against 13 types of the bacteria. These vaccines may not always prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, but they may prevent serious complications of pneumonia if it does occur.

PPSV23 is recommended for all people over age 65 and all people over age 2 who are at risk for pneumonia. Adults aged 19-65 with certain conditions (diabetes, heart or liver disease, alcoholism, cirrhosis, lung disease) should also receive the PPSV23. The PCV13 vaccine is recommended for all infants and for young children who did not receive it earlier in life and for adults with a weakened immune system or certain other risk factors.

Seasonal influenza vaccines are available yearly and are recommended to decrease the chance of contracting influenza.

Avoidance of areas where fungal pathogens are endemic is recommended to prevent fungal pneumonias. There is no antifungal vaccine available; however, for some high-risk patients, some clinicians have recommended prophylactic antifungal drugs.

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