Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection affecting the lungs. It’s usually caused by a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by a virus, such as coronavirus (COVID-19). Each year in the UK, 8 in every 1000 adults develop Pneumonia (around 220,000 people per year) and approximately 29,000 people die.
The symptoms of Pneumonia can develop suddenly over 24 to 48 hours, or they may come on more slowly over several days.
Common symptoms of Pneumonia include:
- a rash
- itching all over the body
- a high temperature
- a headache
- joint pain (with possible swelling, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet)
- feeling generally unwell
- sweating and shivering
- loss of appetite
- chest pain – which gets worse when breathing or coughing
1. How do you catch it?
Pneumonia is usually the result of a bacterial infection. It can be transmitted by air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze, but can also be spread through person-to-person contact.
Although most cases of Pneumonia are bacterial and are not passed on from one person to another, ensuring good standards of hygiene will help prevent germs spreading.
For example, you should:
- cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when you cough or sneeze
- throw away used tissues immediately – germs can live for several hours after they leave your nose or mouth
- wash your hands regularly to avoid transferring germs to other people or objects
A healthy lifestyle can also help prevent Pneumonia. For example, you should stop smoking as it damages your lungs and increases the chance of infection.
Excessive and prolonged alcohol misuse also weakens your lungs’ natural defences against infections, making you more vulnerable to Pneumonia.
People at high risk of Pneumonia should be offered the pneumococcal vaccine and flu vaccine.
3. Vaccination options
Currently, two licenced Pneumococcal vaccinations are available.
Number of doses? 1 dose
Booster doses? No requirement.
Age restrictions? Vaccine is available for anyone above the age of one
4. Our service
For a free risk assessment and expert advice, contact us today and speak with one of our dedicated healthcare professionals.