Pneumonia is swelling (inflammation) of the tissue in one or both lungs. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. However, it can also be caused by a virus, such as coronavirus (Covid-19). Pneumonia can affect anyone but is most serious in:-
- Adults over 65
- Babies and very young children
- People who smoke
- People who may have underlying health issues, such as:-
- asthma, cystic fibrosis, or a heart, kidney or liver condition
- People with a weakened immune system.
Symptoms of pneumonia
Common symptoms of pneumonia include:-
- a cough which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
- difficulty breathing
- breathing may be rapid and shallow, you may feel breathless, even when resting
- rapid heartbeat
- high temperature
- feeling generally unwell
- sweating and shivering
- loss of appetite
- chest pain – which gets worse when breathing or coughing.
Less common symptoms can include:-
- coughing up blood
- feeling sick or being sick
- joint or muscle pain
- feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people
Most cases of pneumonia are bacterial and therefore not passed from one person to another. Good standards of hygiene can help prevent germs from spreading. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent pneumonia,
Mild pneumonia can usually be treated at home by:
- Getting lots of rest
- Taking antibiotics if the pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
For at-risk groups pneumonia can be severe and may need to be treated in hospital as it can lead to serious complications, which can be potentially fatal – depending on a person’s health and age.
People at high risk of pneumonia should consider the pneumococcal vaccine.
There are two types of Pneumonia vaccination available with us:-
- PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)
- PCV (pneumococcal polysaccharide)
The vaccination is also useful for those travelling to countries which have higher levels of pneumococcal infections, including India, China and Vietnam.
If you’re 65 or over, or have one or more of the risk factors below, you are eligible for a free NHS pneumonia vaccination:-
- Have asthma
- Have a chronic respiratory, heart or liver condition
- Have diabetes
If you are under 65, you can book your private vaccinations with us.