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The importance of the pneumonia jab

10 July 2019

The importance of the pneumonia jab

In this article, we will outline for you what the pneumonia jab is, why it is vital to get one if your loved one is aged 65 or over, and the symptoms.

Why is the jab so important?

The NHS recommends that every single adult over the age of 65 receive the pneumococcal vaccine (or pneumonia vaccine/jab). This is because adults over the age of 65 have a vastly increased risk of contracting the disease when compared to younger individuals. This is owing to a wide range of different factors, the most important of them being that older people, generally speaking, have more of a compromised immune system and therefore find it harder to fight off infections, with the resulting infection oftentimes lasting longer and being greater in severity (with more severe or pronounced symptoms).

The pneumonia vaccine has been designed to protect the individual against several pneumococcal infections, which include pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis. For those of you reading this who have loved ones who are acutely averse to needles and/or injections, the good news is that your loved only ever needs to have this injection once, as in the case of older adults, this jab protects you for life.

How effective is the jab?

Further good news is that this jab is very effective in preventing the onset of the diseases which it is designed to protect you from. Studies that have endeavoured to analyse the effectiveness of this vaccine have shown the following:

  • Administration of the vaccine has shown to protect 75 in 100 of individuals who are aged 65 or over against invasive pneumococcal disease (this includes an infection relating or pertaining to meningitis)
  • Administration of the vaccine has shown to protect 45 in 100 individuals from pneumococcal pneumonia

Whilst not 100% successful, this is a massive protection for one life-time jab and as this is also offered for free on the NHS to anybody over the age of 65 we would wholly and sincerely suggest that you arrange for your loved one to have this jab as soon as they are able to.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

If your loved one does contract pneumonia, then we have included for you below a list of warning signs and symptoms to look out for, as in its early stages it can quite easily be confused with the flu or a similar sort of infection. It is vital that you learn these signs as early diagnosis of pneumonia can have a very positive effect on treatment. The signs to look out for are as follows:

Confusion: confusion is common in elderly people with pneumonia, and can often manifest as disorientation, or an inability to explain themselves clearly or hold a conversation.

A productive cough: if a cough is consistently producing phlegm, or that sounds wet and is accompanied by wheezing, then this is a sign of possible pneumonia.

A rattling or a bubbling sound in the chest: this is characteristic of pneumonia and may only be heard during investigation by a doctor, if it is audible when you put your head to your loved ones chest as they inhale/exhale then it may be pneumonia.

High fever: Any high fever in an elderly person should be evaluated, especially if it is very high and lasts a long time. If it is accompanied by the above symptoms, then you must contact your GP or doctor on their behalf as soon as you can.

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