Pneumococcal Pneumonia

Pneumococcal Pneumonia

What is Pneumococcal Pneumonia?

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a lung disease caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumonia.  It infects the upper respiratory tract of adults and children.  It can also cause ear infections and meningitis.

Who gets Pneumococcal Pneumonia?

Infants, young children and adults 65 years of age or older are more likely to get this disease.  Others likely to become ill include people with serious, underlying medical conditions, people with weakened immune systems, diabetics, alcoholics, those without a spleen, African Americans, and some Native American populations.

How is Pneumococcus Spread?

It is spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or close contact.

When does Pneumococcal Pneumonia occur?

This disease is more common during the winter months.

What are the Symptoms of Pneumococcal Pneumonia?

The disease may begin quickly, with:

  •  High fever
  • Chill
  • "Rusty" looking phlegm
  • Cough
  • Stabbing Chest Pains

How is Pneumococcal Pneumonia Diagnosed?

A doctor or other health care provider can diagnose pneumonia based on:

  • Symptoms
  • Lab tests
  • Physical exam
  • Chest x-ray

If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away for early diagnosis and to begin treatment quickly.

How is Pneumococcal Pneumonia Treated?

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are used to treat this disease.  Usually symptoms decrease 12 to 36 hours after treatment has begun.

Can Pneumococcal Pneumonia be Prevented?

Pneumococcal vaccine is very good at preventing severe disease.  However, it is not guaranteed to prevent all symptoms in all people.  Vaccination is recommended for all children and adults aged 65 years and older. Vaccination may also be recommended for other age groups with certain medical conditions.

The next best way to prevent infection is to use good health habits. Remember to cover your cough and wash your hands often.