Monday, July 11th, 2011

Get Vaccinated Against Pneumonia

vaccine against pneumoniaPneumonia is concerns for older adults and people with chronic illnesses or impaired immune systems, but it can also strike young healthy people. Worldwide, it’s a leading cause of death in children.

Pneumonia can be difficult to spot. It often mimics a cold or the flu, beginning with a cough and a fever, so you may not realise you have a more serious condition. Chest pain is a common symptom of many types of pneumonia. Pneumonia symptoms can vary greatly, depending on any underlying conditions you may have and the type of organism causing the infection. Adults aging 50 or more and very young children, whose immune systems aren’t fully developed, are at an increased risk of pneumonia.

A shot in time

Two types of pneumonia vaccines are available in India —-pneumococcal 23 valent vaccine, named as ‘pneumo 23.’ and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which is known as ‘prevnar’
‘Pneumo 23.’ vaccine
The ‘pneumo 23’vaccine is recommended for children who are above 2 years of age or elder who are at an increased risk of having complications of pneumonia. These include people:
• With chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure or metabolic disorders.
• Recovering from severe disease.
• Over 50 years of age, as recommended by a physician.
The cost for this vaccine is Rs.1500/- and revaccination is necessary in every 3 to 5 years.
‘Prevnar’ (PCV) vaccine

In February 2000, the ‘Prevnar,’ (PCV) vaccine was approved to prevent infections from pneumococcal disease in infants. Vaccination with ‘Prevnar’ requires a series of 4 doses to be given at one and half month, two and half months, three and half months and booster at 12-15 months of age. The Prevnar vaccine is injected into the thigh of infants. A single injection for this in our country costs Rs. 4000/-. A partial list of the most common side effects of the ‘Prevnar’ vaccine include pain or redness at the injection site, fever, irritability, fussiness, drowsiness, restless sleep, decreased appetite

Check list
1. Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to previous dose of pneumococcal vaccine.
2. Pregnancy—If you are pregnant, an additional advice from your doctor must be taken.
3. Breast-feeding—Mothers who are receiving this vaccine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor in advance.
4. Older adults—Let your doctor be informed about the different health conditions before having a vaccine for the older adults of your family.
—–Dr. Shekhar Vashist, Consultant, Paediatrics, Moolchand Medcity

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