Who Pneu?: A Pneumococcal Pneumonia Awareness Campaign | American Lung Association

Location Select your location

Who Pneu?: A Pneumococcal Pneumonia Awareness Campaign

(September 30, 2015)

"My mom thought she had a bad cold, but the second I saw her I knew something was seriously wrong. She looked horrible. She was very weak and pale, and struggling to breathe," said actor Tim Daly, recounting the day he visited his mom and decided to drive her straight to the hospital emergency room.

While it won't happen to everyone this way, Tim's mother was hospitalized for over a week. An estimated quarter of a million U.S. adults over 50 are hospitalized each year with pneumococcal pneumonia,1,2 with the average hospital stay averaging five days.3 On behalf of the American Lung Association and Pfizer, Harris Poll conducted a recent telephone survey among 1000 U.S. adults aged 50 to 75 that showed while 85 percent of respondents think people 50 and older are at risk for pneumococcal pneumonia, only 1 in 2 (50 percent) agree they are personally at risk.4

Who Pneu?TM, an American Lung Association public awareness campaign developed in partnership with Pfizer encourages Baby Boomers and older Gen X-ers to recognize their personal risk for pneumococcal pneumonia — a serious lung disease that can be spread by coughing and sneezing.5

"While many of us over 50 may act and feel younger, the truth is our immune system naturally weakens with age, putting us at increased risk for infectious diseases," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung Association. "With Who Pneu?, we are providing a wake‑up call for these adults to talk to their doctors and see if they are up to date on their vaccinations."

"Some people think you have to be elderly and in the hospital to get pneumococcal pneumonia, but that's not so," says Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer. "Anyone can get pneumococcal pneumonia anywhere and at any time, and the risk increases after we turn 50.5 It's also important to understand that pneumococcal pneumonia is a really serious condition and shouldn't be taken lightly."

Through television, radio and print public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Tim Daly and his personal connection to pneumococcal pneumonia, the American Lung Association will share information about the severity of pneumococcal pneumonia and encourage adults 50 and older to take an online risk assessment and learn more about their personal risk for pneumococcal pneumonia at WhoPneu.com.

Image of man smiling at couple in coffee/bakery shop awkwardly

Pneumococcal Pneumonia can strike people at any age, anywhere and anytime. It is a serious, life-threatening lung infection and a leading cause of death in the United States.5 Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia.6 It can be spread by coughing or sneezing, and close contact with an infected person.4 Common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include high fever, excessive sweating and chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain. Certain symptoms, like cough and fatigue, may last for weeks, or longer.7 Sometimes even those who do not exhibit symptoms can also spread the bacteria.8

Learn more at WhoPneu.com.

1. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). April 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/data/hcup/index.html.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. The Pink Book: Course Textbook. 13th edition. Washington, DC. 2015.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast Stats – Pneumonia. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/pneumonia.htm. Updated January 4, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2015.
4. Harris Poll. Pneumococcal Pneumonia Survey, conducted via telephone by Harris Poll among US 50-75 year olds on behalf of the American Lung Association in partnership with Pfizer from June 22 to July 8, 2015.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease (Streptococcus pneumoniae). Available at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/pneumococcal-disease-streptococcus-pneumoniae. Updated August 5, 2014. Accessed April 17, 2015.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease: Risk Factors & Transmission. http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/risk-transmission.html. Updated June 6, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease. Symptoms & Complications. http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/symptoms-complications.html. Updated June 6, 2013. May 11, 2015.
8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Risk factors & transmission. http: //www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/risk-transmission.html. Updated June 6, 2013. Accessed May 11, 2015.

Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

What is LUNG FORCE?

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.