Let Us Prevent Pneumonia

| Friday, November 18, 2011
By Agnes Baker

I remember that I had pneumonia a few years ago. I thought it was just your normal cough. Then my cough started to get worse. From white, my phlegm became yellow, then green. Then, my cough was so bad, I had difficulty breathing, and my lungs hurt. My physician concluded it was pneumonia. He prescribed antibiotics and I was bedridden for 3 days. It was horrible!

I do not wish pneumonia upon anyone. Unfortunately it is all too common. So I gathered here my lessons on how to prevent pneumonia.

1. Get vaccinated. -The pneumonia vaccine is effective against pneumonia caused by pneumococcus bacteria. However, there are many other organisms that can also cause pneumonia. Getting the flu vaccine is also recommended. Pneumonia can develop as a complication of the flu.

2. Drink lots of fluid. -Water should be your best friend, not Coke!

3. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. -This will build your immune system.

4. Maintain a balance between rest and activity. -While it is important to be active, also know when to take a break. If you feel tired, rest. Do not force yourself.

5. Take care of your teeth. -Brush them regularly. Visit the dentist every 6 months. Pneumonia can be acquired from poor dental hygiene.

6. If you are not feeling well, visit your nearest health care provider. -It is important to nip it in the bud while still early. Honestly, if I had delayed my visit to the doctor, I am certain I would have been hospitalized. And I waited for 3 days before consulting the doctor. Maybe I should have gone on day 1 or 2 instead?

7. Most important of all: wash your hands. -I cannot stress this enough. It has been proven time and again that handwashing is the single most effective measure against disease. If you must choose only one among the list to follow, it should be handwashing.

These tips have worked so far for me. Remember that elderly people are at higher risk for pneumonia because of the higher probability of already having a coexisting disease and because of our decreased immune function.

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