is an infection of the lungs caused by bacteria. Older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk. Ordinary respiratory infections sometimes lead to bacterial pneumonia. A vaccine (medicine given by a shot) can help protect against bacterial pneumonia.
• Wash your hands. Your hands are in almost constant contact with germs that can cause pneumonia. They enter your body when you touch your eyes or rub the inside of your nose. When washing isn’t possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Don’t or stop smoking.
• Stay rested and fit.
• Eat a healthy diet. Include plenty of fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
• Set an example by staying home when you are sick. When you are in public with a cold or a contagious respiratory infection, catch your coughs and sneezes in the inner crook of your elbow.
• Don’t use alcohol heavily.
• Get a pneumococcal vaccine and yearly flu shots. Doctors recommend a one-time vaccine against pneumonia for everyone older than age 65, as well as for people of any age residing in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In addition, the vaccine is recommended for anyone at high risk including: smokers; anyone with heart disease, lung disease or other chronic conditions; and anyone with reduced immune defenses due to HIV or long-term therapy with immunosuppressant drugs, such as corticosteroids or medications to prevent transplant rejection.