Celebrity illnesses are reminder to get flu, pneumonia vaccines | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Celebrity illnesses are reminder to get flu, pneumonia vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two vaccines for adults 65 years or older and those at increased risk for disease.

Oprah Winfrey has opened up about her recent health scare that landed her in the emergency room and has urged people to get their flu and pneumonia shots.

Oprah, 65, thought she had come down with a cold after an overseas trip, but eventually she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was the latest of a handful of celebrities who have publicly shared their pneumonia diagnoses.

Pneumonia occurs when bacteria, viruses or fungi infect and inflame the lungs and fill air sacs with fluid.

“Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie was absent from the show for about a week in September after contracting pneumonia. Whoopi Goldberg of “The View” revealed in March that she had an infection in both lungs, saying the illness nearly killed her.

Pneumonia can be life-threatening and is most dangerous for young children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems.

Pneumonia Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Fever that persists at 102 F or higher

Pneumonia Vaccines Available

There are vaccines that protect against some types of bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia, according to Lori Scales, M.D., internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Mount Washington.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two vaccines for adults 65 years or older and those at increased risk for disease. The vaccines — given at least a year apart — protect against different forms of pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause meningitis, bloodstream infections, ear infections and pneumonia.

Flu Treatment When You Need It

Norton Healthcare has convenient options for flu symptom treatment in kids and adults, including 24/7 access to a provider in person or online.

Get Better

Adults 19 to 64 years old who have chronic medical conditions — including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease — should receive one pneumococcal vaccine, as well as those with alcoholism or who smoke cigarettes.

There are other immunizations that prevent infections that can cause pneumonia. The CDC has published immunization schedules for children and immunization schedules for adults.

“It’s crucial for everyone to be up to date on their vaccines,” Dr. Scales said. “The pneumococcal vaccine protects against many different strains of pneumococcal disease, including those that cause pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis. We often refer to these shots as the sepsis shots.”

Because flu is a common cause of viral pneumonia, annual flu shots are a must.


Norton Community Medical Associates – Mt. Washington

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