Did you know that pneumonia doesn’t have a season like the flu does? Although pneumonia is a risk throughout the entire year, pneumonia is easier to contract when you are already sick. Thus pneumonia is a bigger risk during flu season, especially if you get the flu or even if you get a cold. Pneumonia infects the lungs, inflaming alveoli or filling the lungs with water. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites can cause the infection. Every year over three million people get pneumonia but only 17% of these cases are serious enough to go to the hospital. Studies show that there are many proven prevention methods.
Life is full of risks, and we cannot possibly account for all of them, but being aware and preventing, as much as is possible, will make you happier and healthier. Vaccines and improved daily habits will prevent severe cases of pneumonia. Doctors think that the probability of actually preventing pneumonia altogether is unlikely, but you can vaccinate and use proper hygiene to prepare your body for an infection. If you prepare your body properly, you will be able to fight off the bad bacteria much easier when the infection comes. The first way to prevent pneumonia is to get vaccinated. Vaccinations of all kinds reveal a weakened form of a disease germ so that the body produces antibodies specific to that type of infection. Once the body produces antibodies, they will always be there. If the body actually experiences that specific infection later on, the antibodies previously generated will already be there, ready to kill the disease. In this way, immunizations slow down or stop disease outbreaks. Vaccinations not only prevent disease, but also protect the health of the community. Those who are not vaccinated can still contract and spread infections to those who have been vaccinated.
Another proven method of prevention is proper hygiene. Proper hygiene includes washing hands, eating healthy, exercising, refraining from smoking, practicing good oral hygiene, and staying away from other people who are coughing with pneumonia. Most of these prevention methods are common sense, and will also help you fight all types of infection, not only pneumonia. New studies show that good oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing daily, and visiting Dr. Allen for regular six-month checkups and cleanings, help you prevent the possibility of a pneumonia infection.
Good oral hygiene practices have also proven to be effective for the elderly community. A study revealed that good daily oral hygiene routines and regular dental checkups reduced the risk of pneumonia up to three times in elderly patients.
If you need a regular checkup, call (641) 640-1121. Allen Family Dentistry serves families from Oskaloosa, Monroe, Knoxville, Newton, and surrounding central Iowa communities. We are happy to help you battle the winter cold.