National Adult Immunization Week Highlights the Need for Vaccination
Even healthy older adults are at increased risk for serious lung diseases.
(August 28, 2018) - HELENA, Mont.
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August 26 – 31 is National Adult Immunization Week, and the American Lung Association strongly promotes vaccination against potentially serious lung diseases such as Influenza and Pneumococcal Pneumonia.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a potentially deadly virus that affects lungs. In the 2016-17 flu season, flu activity was reported from all but one county in Montana and 56 deaths were attributed to the flu. Both pneumococcal pneumonia and the flu are potentially serious infections that are among vaccine-preventable infectious diseases
“An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 adults in the United States die from vaccine-preventable infectious diseases or their complications each year,” said Dr. Albert Rizzo, Senior Medical Advisor at the American Lung Association. “Age alone increases the risk of serious lung infections for more than 47 million Americans over the age of 65, because the body’s immune system naturally weakens with age,”
Older adults and those with weakened immune systems or certain chronic health conditions – like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – are especially vulnerable to infectious disease.
Pneumococcal Pneumonia symptoms include high fever, excessive sweating and shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee recommends that all adults 65 years or older receive pneumococcal vaccination.
Influenza symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, a dry cough, sore throat and nasal congestion. Health officials recommend that everyone six months of age and older receive an influenza vaccination every year.
“It’s always better to help prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs,” said Dr. Rizzo. “Vaccines are vital to helping to protect lung health, especially when it comes to influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia, which can potentially have a devastating impact on the lives of those whose lungs are already compromised by asthma, COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions.”
You can take an online quiz to assess your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia at Lung.org/pneumococcal, developed in partnership with Pfizer. And for more information about the flu, visit Lung.org/influenza or call the America Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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