People don’t typically worry about pneumonia in the summer. Flu season is the time to be on high alert for pneumonia, right? While it’s true that pneumonia is more common during the fall and winter months, it’s possible to get pneumonia in the summer, too.
Pneumonia refers to a respiratory infection in one or both of the lungs. There are many different types of pneumonia, however. Viruses, fungi, and bacteria can all cause pneumonia.
The most common type of bacterial pneumonia is called pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia – like other types of pneumonia – can occur at any time during the year, including the summer.
What are pneumonia symptoms like?
Pneumonia symptoms may include chest pain, fatigue, fever, shaking, coughing with phlegm, excessive sweating, difficulty breathing, and an increased heart rate. These symptoms may last a few days or a few weeks and can be mild or severe. A person’s age, health, and the type of pneumonia they have determine the type of treatment needed. You should visit your primary care physician if you experience pneumonia symptoms.
Who’s at risk for pneumonia?
Adults over the age of 65 and children younger than 2 are at a higher risk for pneumococcal pneumonia. Other factors can also increase a person’s risk for developing pneumonia. Chronic lung disease, for example, increases a person’s risk. COPD, asthma, and smoking all increase the risk for pneumonia, especially for those over the age of 65.
What can you do?
People are sometimes surprised to learn that you can get pneumonia in the summer. This can make the infection even more dangerous, because people might ignore their symptoms.
There is a vaccination that can help prevent pneumococcal pneumonia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend pneumococcal vaccination for adults over the age of 65.
Talk to your doctor about vaccination – especially if you’re at a higher risk for pneumonia – and talk to your doctor if you experience pneumonia symptoms.