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Do You Need a Pneumonia Shot?

Every time you go see one of your Topeka or Lawrence doctors, you’re probably asked if you’ve had a pneumonia shot. But do you really need one? Here’s the scoop.

Who should get a pneumonia shot

You should get a pneumonia shot if:

  • You’re over the age of 65. As you get older, your body has a tougher time fighting off infection, which puts you at an increased risk for pneumonia.
  • You have a weakened immune system. There are certain things that can cause your immune system to not function normally. These may include:
    • Chemotherapy. In addition to destroying cancer cells, chemotherapy also destroys normal cells, including immune system cells. This leaves you vulnerable to infections, including pneumonia.
    • Certain medical conditions (e.g., cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, COPD, asthma, kidney disease, alcoholism).
  • You’re a smoker. Smoking damages your lungs, making it harder for them to fight off infections, including pneumonia.
  • You’ve been on a ventilator. Ventilator use can increase your risk for pneumonia.

Who should NOT get a pneumonia shot

Even if you fit into one of the above categories, you should not get a pneumonia shot if:

  • You’re allergic to the vaccine or any of it’s components. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor.
  • You’re not feeling well. If you’re under the weather on the day you’d planned to get your vaccine, it’s best to wait until you’re feeling better.

Keep in mind that the pneumonia shot may not be 100% effective in preventing you from getting pneumonia. But if you get the vaccine and still end up with pneumonia, chances are you’ll have a faster recovery.

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