American Lung Association Supports National Immunization Awareness Month

Pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza are vaccine preventable inflections diseases

doctor listening to child's lungs

During National Immunization Awareness Month in August 2019, the American Lung Association (ALA) is reminding adults of potentially serious lung diseases, such as influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.

In a press release on August 7, 2019, the ALA says ‘as a preventive healthcare measure, vaccines work by teaching the body's immune system to recognize and defend against harmful viruses or bacteria before getting an infection and reduce the chance of getting certain infectious diseases.’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most vaccine-preventable diseases are spread from person to person.

This means that if one person in a community gets an infectious disease, they can spread it to others.

Different than a bad cold, influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia are potentially serious infectious diseases that may be prevented by vaccines, says the ALA.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia:

  • the most common type of bacterial pneumonia is often spread through coughing. The symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia can come quickly and may include high fever, excessive sweating and shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
  • The best way to prevent pneumococcal disease is to get the vaccine(s). Pneumococcal vaccines help protect against some of the more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Prevnar 13, protects against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that cause most of the severe illness in children and adults.

Influenza:

  • commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious virus that is usually spread through coughing or sneezing. Symptoms can impact the entire body and may include fever, headache, muscle aches, a dry cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion.
  • The CDC says there are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the 3 or 4 viruses that research suggests will be most common. 

Sponsored Links:

"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," said Albert Rizzo, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. 

"In fact, for adults 65 and older living with COPD, the risk for contracting pneumococcal pneumonia is 7.7 times higher than their healthy counterparts, and those with asthma are at 5.9 times greater risk."

The work of the American Lung Association is focused on 4 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.

The American Lung Association, in partnership with Pfizer, is urging adults to talk with their healthcare provider about pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations during August 2019.

For more information, visit Pneumococcal Pneumonia and Influenza, or call the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.

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.