Pneumonia is caused by an infection that reaches the tiny air sacs in the lungs or the small passages leading to these air sacs, or both locations. Viruses and fungi cause pneumonia, but most commonly in elderly patients it is caused by bacteria.
Pneumonia may occur at any age, but it is many times (at least five times) more common in elderly patients. In addition, it affects these patients more severely. For many years, pneumonia has been a recognized common cause of death in elderly patients. This remains true despite advances in the treatment of lung infections.
Many different bacteria can infect lung tissue and cause pneumonia. The likely causative organism varies from setting to setting. A bacteria called pneumococcus is often involved in infections in the elderly.
Vaccination against pneumococcus is effective in preventing much of the pneumonia affecting the elderly. Its use is reported to cause a 70% reduction in this kind of pneumonia in the elderly.
Important Points in Therapy
The pneumococcal vaccine is so potent that it needs to be given only every 10 years. It requires a single injection. It can be given at the same time as an influenza immunization, but it must be injected at a different site.
The site of immunization may be sore for a day or two after the inoculation. A few patients may have some muscle ache, fever, and tiredness; but this lasts only a day or two. The vaccine is made in eggs. Patients who are allergic to eggs or egg products should not take this vaccine.
Call Our Office If
- You would like to have a pneumococcal immunization.