Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It can be caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi. It causes inflammation in the air sacs of your lungs, making it difficult for you to breathe. Cases may be mild or very severe. It’s an equal opportunity infection, meaning anyone can get it. For those under the age of 2 or over 65 it can cause death because of weaker immune systems. People may have it and not know it. This is usually called “walking pneumonia”. It can be spread to others if caused by a virus or bacteria.
Some little know facts about pneumonia:
- There are more than 30 causes of this infection. Usually caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi, it can also be caused by mycoplasma germs. These are the smallest disease causing germ for humans. Breathing dust, food, gases or liquids into your lungs can also be the cause.
- Quite often the germs which cause pneumonia are already living in your body, usually your nose or your throat. If your immune system is weakened it’s unable to fight it off.
- Getting a flu shot can help to prevent it. The flu shot can cut your risk as many cases are brought on by the flu virus.
- There is a vaccine for pneumonia. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider if you qualify for this vaccine. Older adults and seniors usually receive the vaccine.
- Breastfeeding your baby for the first six months can protect it from developing pneumonia. Breast milk strengthens a baby’s immune system.
This November 12th is World Pneumonia Day. First established in 2009 it helps others to become more informed about it and its causes. To find out more information about pneumonia and the events being held this year, click here.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. Please discuss any health benefits suggested or questions with your health practitioner.