Rite Aid is serious about immunizations — shielding your health and wellbeing against any threat. Especially the threat of pneumococcal disease. Or more commonly, the serious infections that pneumococcal disease leads to: infections of the lungs (pneumonia), the blood (bacteremia), and the covering around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). It is spread from person-to-person by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with an infected personal and kills more people in the United States each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages and is the leading cause of death in children 5 years and younger worldwide. Pneumonia symptoms include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.
Those who smoke, have underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease, children younger than 5 years of age and adults 65 years of age or older — are at greater risk of becoming ill with pneumonia.
How can you avoid Pneumonia?
You can decrease your risk of getting pneumonia and other respiratory infections by following good hygiene practices — such as washing your hands regularly and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
Those with underlying medical conditions can better avoid becoming ill with pneumonia by taking proper care of medical problems and quitting smoking.
Vaccinations are the best way of preventing infections. Your Rite Aid pharmacist has all the information you need and can immunize you without an appointment.
How can you treat Pneumonia?
Pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics, antivirals or other specific drug therapies, depending on the type and severity of the illness.
What are the causes of Pneumonia?
Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Common causes of viral pneumonia are influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). A common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Being on a ventilator can also be a cause of pneumonia, this is known as ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Some less common causes of pneumonia include:
- Chlamydophila pneumoniae
- Haemophilus influenzae
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
How does the Pneumonia vaccine work?
Pneumococcal vaccines guard against the most common cause of pneumonia in the United States — pneumococcal bacteria. These same bacteria can also cause bacteremia (a blood infection) or meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord). There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines available, PCV13 and PPSV23 — your Rite Aid Pharmacist or physician can determine if and when one, or both, of these vaccines is needed. While receiving the pneumococcal vaccine(s) is the best way to prevent pneumonia, it cannot deter every single case of pneumonia. But shielded with it, you are likely to have a milder case and fewer major complications.
In addition to the pneumococcal vaccine(s), there are several other immunizations that prevent infection by bacteria or viruses that may cause pneumonia. These vaccines include:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib),
- pertussis (whooping cough),
- varicella (chickenpox),
- influenza (flu)
Your Rite Aid pharmacist has all the information you need on these other vaccinations and can immunize you without an appointment.
Should I get vaccinated if I have diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people aged 2 and older with diabetes get the PPSV23 pneumococcal vaccine. Most people only need one shot until age 64 as the protection lasts for years. At age 65 or older, you may need additional pneumococcal vaccinations. Ask your Rite Aid pharmacist if you are properly up to date.